Leveraging powerful partnerships

Partnering with global brands
Maximising Government investment
Delivering strong returns

From strategic relationships that build aspiration to visit to commercial collaborations with high profile brands which encourage people to book their trip, we continued to build a wide-range of partnerships in 2015/16 – maximising every opportunity to build tourism in Britain maximising every opportunity to boost tourism in Britain.

Identifying opportunities to promote, influence and incentivise

Poster showing 5 reasons to visit Britain in winterWhether it’s Government, destination organisations or household names, the relationships we nurture and the campaigns we create all have the same aim: to entice more visitors to explore our nations and regions – adding value to the UK economy. This year was no exception. From British Airways to BBC Worldwide, the Premier League to Disney, we brokered and built partnerships to develop exciting new ways to encourage the world to visit.

As key players in the GREAT campaign, we work closely with Government, Department for International Trade, FCO, DCMS and the British Council as well as working with our strategic partners (the national tourism boards for Scotland, Wales, London and destination management organisations) to shape activity that would spread the benefits of inbound tourism across Britain.



Highlights of our work with partners this year include:
  • Working closely with BBC Worldwide and British Airways on a global content hub to boost bookings from the USA, India, France, Germany, GCC, China and Brazil. Over the year, visits grew to record numbers, with the highest volume of American visitors since 2007
  • Working with Expedia in the USA, Australia and the Nordics promoting the North and South West of England with rich content supported by North Tourism Growth Fund and South West Tourism Growth Fund
  • Collaborating with easyJet in France, Italy, The Netherlands and Switzerland, to promote the variety of experiences in Britain
  • Drawing on our relationship with British Airways to target US leisure and business travellers with a flash sale encouraging them to travel now
  • Working with Turkish Airlines in GCC and India promoting Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham and London as gateways to British countryside
  • Partnering with Hainan Airlines in China to promote the new route between Beijing and Manchester
  • Capitalising on Wimbledon’s global audiences to showcase experiences in Britain through on site advertising, digital and social activity
  • Working with P&O Ferries to attract visitors from Germany and the Netherlands in the low season
  • Marketing ferry and car tours to Brittany Ferries’ French customers, encouraging them to experience incredible 'moments' unique to Britain
  • Raising awareness of North and the South West England with STA Travel’s customers across Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, the United States, China, Scandinavia and Republic of Ireland

Promoting growth across the nations and regions

As a delivery partner for the Northern and South West growth funds, and for the wider GREAT Challenge funds, we received funding to implement agreed promotional activity in identified target markets. As a trusted partner in the GREAT campaign, VisitBritain was allocated responsibility for £15 million in 2015/16 to build the intention to travel to Britain, as well as £2 million over four years to promote Loch Ness and Inverness working with VisitScotland.

We collaborated with our strategic partners, the national tourist boards, and destinations across the nations and regions to spread the benefits of inbound and domestic tourism across Britain. Integral to this have been projects such as Britain – Home of Amazing Moments, our visiting journalist programme and international travel trade familiarisation trips following ExploreGB.

We also continued to work with regional gateways to encourage visitors to explore Britain. For example, through partnerships with organisations including Turkish Airlines and Hainan Airlines, we promoted Edinburgh, Birmingham, London and Manchester as destinations perfectly placed for visitors from the GCC, India and China to discover the breadth of what Britain has to offer.


Maximising public investment through partner engagement

From football to spy chases to literary giants, we’ve used culture, creativity and heritage to position Britain as the destination of choice amongst visitors. In September 2016, we continued our successful relationship with the Premier League, entering a new 3-year partnership to promote Britain as the home of football. Our activity in 2015/16 saw us reach an opportunities to see of 1.15 billion people through press coverage and our competition received 6,500 entries.

This year was the 100th anniversary of Roald Dahl’s birth – which laid the foundations for our first ever collaboration with Disney to celebrate the much-loved author and the release of the film adaptation of the BFG. Adapting our digital and social media activity to ‘Oh My GIANT Britain’ (#OMGB), the campaign encouraged followers to share their own images of giant British experiences, all driving visitors to a dedicated website where they could learn more about filming locations, Roald Dahl events and exclusive competitions.


As the official national tourism partner for the 2015 release of SPECTRE, we worked with Sony Pictures Entertainment and MGM to run a ‘Bond is GREAT Britain’ global campaign – taking over billboards, press space, digital channels and social media. We supported this with an international PR campaign to invite travel and lifestyle media to come over and live the Bond lifestyle.

We also harnessed our small screen and international film connections to maximum effect, continuing our successful partnership with Downtown Abbey to raise awareness of Britain’s regions and drive bookings, while also working with Turkish Airlines, piggybacking the Bollywood movie Shaandar to showcase Britain beyond London to an Indian audience.

BFG #OMGB campaign artwork
Promoting Britain as a family friendly destination with Disney
What our partners say about working with us
Premier League campaign artwork
Showcasing the destinations behind the Premier League
Results of our Bond is GREAT campaign
  • 70 countries reached
  • 177 million impacts across the USA, France and Germany
  • 28 million consumers reached worldwide through the #HomeofBond
  • 6 million views of a Bond is GREAT video
  • 75,000 completed our James Bond lifestyle quiz on BuzzFeed

Our work across Government

Advertising space at Heathrow terminal showing Flooding artworkFrom DCMS and the Treasury to the Home Office, we have continued to work closely with Government agencies to maximise the opportunity and ability for visitors to travel here. We’ve worked together on initiatives to build visitor numbers from China, collaborating to encourage Chinese tourists to explore more of Britain during their visit. We also partnered with a range of organisations to advise on challenges and opportunities impacting rural tourism development, from national trails and power lines to Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Working closely with No.10 Cabinet Office, DCMS and other commercial partners including Virgin Trains and Heathrow Airport, the #OpenForBusiness campaign aimed to encourage visits to some of the worst affected areas from the January 2016 floods in parts of Northern England and Scotland through strategically placed advertising, media coverage and travel discounts.

Collaborating to make the most of Shakespeare celebrations

A poster promoting our Shakespeare England competitionAs part of a campaign run by the British Council, we teamed up with partners worldwide to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, delivering a range of activities to pique interest in key markets. Supporting international PR activity which included 72 media visits from 18 countries and media guides, we ran a Shakespeare takeover of our social media channels on the day itself with live tweeting to showcase the celebrations reaching over 420,000 people. Alongside this we worked with GREAT partners to amplify the tourism message around January’s Shakespeare Lives in Britain competition, leading to over 20,000 entries from over 140 countries of which nearly 14,000 subscriptions to our consumer newsletter.


Benefitting smaller tourism businesses

Small and medium sized businesses form the bedrock of the British tourism industry and we provide opportunities for them to partner with us. From connecting suppliers with our global network so they can reach new customers, to advising them on how to market their products internationally, we provide our market intelligence, analysis and insight to help each business reach its potential and offer visitors exactly what they’re looking for. 

In 2015/16 we continued our mission to help English businesses develop their profitability and adapt to meet customer needs. Whether showcasing successes through our annual awards to advising businesses how to cater to visitors with access needs, our collaborations shone a spotlight on quality and championed the value of tourism for the economy.

Reaching tourism businesses through trade associations

We’ve continued to partner with trade associations to help suppliers build the knowledge, skills and reach to attract overseas customers. From market and thematic seminars for UKinbound members, to connecting with buyers and suppliers at trade workshops and exhibitions, our collaborations have enabled us to advise a wider range of suppliers across the nations and regions.

Whether it’s Government, destination organisations or household names, the relationships we nurture and the campaigns we create all have the same aim to entice more visitors to explore our nations and regions – adding value to the UK economy.