VisitBritain welcomed the ambition to build the value of tourism to Britain as declared by Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Media, Sport and the Olympics in a major speech on tourism and the legacy of the 2012 Games.
The Games have showcased a vibrant and welcoming Britain around the world, sport at stunning locations and opening and closing ceremonies that highlighted Britain’s creativity, music and sense of fun. The national agency has well developed plans to turn the millions of people who have seen Britain on their screens into visitors who want to come and share in the experience.
International tourism already delivers £18 billion each year to the economy – twice the cost of staging the Games – and a gold medal performance will mean growth and jobs across Britain.
Reaching the stated target of 40 million visits a year by 2020 would deliver £21 billion additional spend and support for 530,000 additional jobs across Britain.
VisitBritain is already embarking on its largest marketing campaign ever - in an 18 month period it will have invested around £35 million promoting Britain. That work will now be turbo-charged in China with the announcement of more funds for the GREAT campaign to drive trade and tourism and to treble visitors to 500,000 by 2015.
Sandie Dawe CEO of VisitBritain said: “This is rightly a stretching ambition and reaching it will need world-class marketing working hand in hand with Government policy and a committed tourism industry.
“Our history and culture is a key attraction for international visitors. We are already in discussions on how we can ensure that the cultural and tourism industries work closely together to increase Britain’s appeal as an international destination.
“We believe that delivering growth in China will involve four key areas:
Strengthening Britain’s image through the GREAT campaign
Ensuring a broader range of British product is sold through the travel trade
Improving the visitor visa process, and
Increasing flight connections from China to Britain
“This is a market worth competing for – one we need to regard as a marathon rather than a sprint.
“We will be publishing our growth strategy in the autumn and invite all in the public and private sector alike to work with us on ensuring Britain continues to compete internationally.”