Building connections, building trade

Linking suppliers with overseas trade
Developing a range of Britain product
Boosting sales and visits
Our eight global events in 2015/16 brought together nearly 400 UK suppliers and more than 400 buyers to do business

From profiling travel intermediaries to destination training, familiarisation visits to identifying product gaps for strategic interventions, our proactive B2B engagement helps UK suppliers reach international markets at the same time as ensuring international buyers sell more of Britain.

Strengthening relationships and opening access

We work closely with the overseas travel trade to ensure more of Britain is packaged and sold through the travel trade. But it’s also about building strong relationships with industry and strategic partners such as the national boards for Scotland, Wales and London as well as destination management organisations, to strengthen the offer from UK suppliers, helping to make sure they’re market-ready. This activity ranges from creating robust digital tools to in-market events, regional roadshows in the UK, and familiarisation visits to help international trade buyers experience UK tourism products first-hand.

A one-to-one meeting at Destination Britain China 2015From hosting 300 key international buyers in Britain to training travel agents online and through roadshows, in 2015/16 we brought British tourism businesses and destinations together with operators, agents and media from priority markets to do business whilst showcasing what’s great about Britain. This provided a route to market and helped the overseas travel trade to understand what the country has to offer – so they can package and sell Britain effectively.

We organised eight main events around the world, attended by nearly 400 UK suppliers and more than 400 buyers. We also spread the word at two of the world’s biggest trade exhibitions, taking along 48 UK delegates. Reigniting relationships on the other side of the world, our first sales mission to Australia in 10 years focused on agents and started productive conversations between 19 UK suppliers and 250 travel agents.


Meetings taking place at ExploreGB 2016Back at home, our flagship B2B event, ExploreGB, built on its inaugural year with a successful second show – this time held in Liverpool. We hosted 300 suppliers and 300 buyers from over 40 markets, who took part in a total of over 30,000 one-to-one meetings. The event featured a gala dinner for 900 influential tourism representatives at Liverpool Cathedral, and visiting buyers enjoyed one of the 15 familiarisation trips organised across Britain to help them gain first-hand insight into the wealth of offers around the regions.

Our commitment to help the UK industry reach international travel trade buyers continued in 2015/16 as we revamped our online trade activity, launching the latest version of the website and supplier directory. Now 23 versions of the website are tailored to specific markets and over 700 British-based tourism organisations are featured in the free-to-register directory, enabling overseas trade to build Britain packages and itineraries. The site has attracted over 67,000 visits from over 140 countries.

Our strategic goals for B2B activity
  • Proactively build the range and availability of relevant bookable Britain product 
  • Increase regional spread
  • Boost commercial sales of Britain in international markets
  • Improve access of the UK tourism industry to markets around the world
A one-to-one meeting at ExploreGB 2016
ExploreGB connects UK suppliers with 300 buyers from key markets
home page of our travel trade website
Helping suppliers reach international trade online
Photos from our Destination Britain China sales mission
Taking UK suppliers to meet quality buyers in market

Developing online tools, campaigns and training

The travel trade played an important role in our largest domestic marketing campaign for 2016, the ‘Home of Amazing Moments’ – which inspires people to take holidays at home with stunning images of the amazing experiences on offer across the UK –  a number of UK-based travel trade partners encouraged engagement in the campaign. Utilising imagery and logos in their advertising, point of sale and online, travel trade partners included leading travel agents such as Advantage, Barrhead Travel, Premier Travel, The Travel Network Group, Thomas Cook, TUI and tour operators Attraction World, Bourne Leisure, Hoseasons, Shearings and Superbreak.

Reaching those at point of sale, we took our training face-to-face, 130 travel agents were skilled up through a series of roadshow events organised by Travel Weekly and 400 Thomas Cook agents took part in a series of product training sessions to help the domestic travel trade sell England to customers.

Screengrab of our BritAgent e-learning platform for travel tradeOur online e-learning programme, BritAgent, also took training to more international travel agents, supporting them through expanding their product knowledge and enabling them to sell Britain more effectively. The platform has gained over 3,000 new registrations since its re-launch in May 2015.

This year we also launched our redesigned online travel trade toolkit, making it even easier for international agents to promote and sell Britain with downloadable brochures, posters, videos and artwork.

As well as educating the trade, we continued to support tourism businesses in becoming export-ready from the world’s largest outbound market. Our free China Welcome programme helped businesses prepare to welcome Chinese visitors whilst building their knowledge of how to market their products internationally. In 2015/16, our activity scooped Gold for Service Quality in the global Chinese Tourist Welcome awards, as we took the programme to the North of England to roll out China Welcome training for 278 tourism professionals, funded by the Northern Tourism Growth Fund.

Meaningful connections – in numbers
  • 30,000 one-to-one meetings at ExploreGB
  • 67,000 visits, from over 140 countries, on our dedicated travel trade website
  • 3,000 new registrations for BritAgent, supporting international agents to sell Britain more effectively
  • 400 Thomas Cook agents took part in a series of product training sessions to sell more England tourism packages
  • 278 tourism professionals in the North of England trained through our China Welcome programme
Our flagship B2B event, ExploreGB, followed up its inaugural year with an even more successful second show, this time held in Liverpool hosting 300 suppliers and 300 buyers from over 40 markets.