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VisitBritain seeks Russia outbound tourism foothold

VisitBritain seeks Russia outbound tourism foothold

Looking to tap into one of the fastest growing outbound travel markets in the world, a group of major tourism businesses from across the UK will head to Russia today as part of a VisitBritain led trade mission.

It is hoped the national tourism agency-sponsored mission will allow the UK to capitalise on the world’s ninth most valuable tourism source market.

A record number of UK companies will participate in Destination Britain Russia 2012 (DBR), encouraged by Russian’s emergence as a major player in terms of tourism expenditure with its market value trebling to £18bn over the last decade.

Around 400 key Russian buyers are expected at the event which is to be held in Moscow and St Petersburg.

A series of scheduled appointments, business meetings and other networking opportunities will take place over the next four days.

VisitBritain research shows that Russian visitors have a great appreciation for British culture, history and heritage.

More than half of Russians surveyed say they would like to go on a tour of Buckingham Palace and 83 per cent saying they are likely to visit places associated with the Royal Family.

As this segment of the British tourism industry already brings in £4.5bn each year to the UK economy, it is understandable that the list of DBR delegates includes British institutions such as Historic Royal Palaces, Historic Scotland, Shakespeare’s England, St Paul’s Cathedral, The Abbotsford Trust and Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum.

Russian Inbound Tourism

While Britain received 170,000 visits from Russia in 2010, helping generate around £194m for the British economy, figures for first three quarters of 2011 point towards the likelihood that there will be over 200,000 Russian visitors across the whole year.

A typical visit to Britain from Russia generates over twice as much spending as does the average inbound visit, spending £1,136 per trip.

With over 134,000 high net worth individuals currently living in Russia, VisitBritain hopes to target this global tourism force and recover competitiveness from a market that spends highly on international travel.

Head of the trade mission, VisitBritain’s strategy and communication director Patricia Yates said: “Britain accounted for only one per cent of all outbound trips from Russia in 2010, yet this still generated nearly £200 million towards the UK economy.

“The Russian market is buoyant, but Britain has plenty of work to do in order to attract more of the £18bn spent by Russian tourists internationally each year.

“This is the year when the eyes of the world will be on the UK as we celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and host the London 2012 Games. As such, we need to ensure that a wide range of British product is sold by the Russian travel trade, so events like DBR are crucial to making that happen and we are highly encouraged by the take up there has been across the industry.

“Nothing beats face-to-face business and this mission will be an important catalyst for enticing an even greater number of Russian visitors to Britain this year and that we continue to build on that success in the crucial years ahead.”