Helping businesses export through trade and retail

Building connections and trade
Developing online trade support
Boosting our retail offer

We’ve connected UK suppliers with global buyers at key trade shows at home and abroad, enabling them to win more business for British tourism. Through our online platforms, we provided dedicated learning resources for the industry and made bookable tourism products available worldwide. Our online shop increased the range of products, including more regional products, easily enabling visitors to experience the best of Britain’s regions.

Building connections and trade

This year we collaborated closely with the travel trade to enable British tourism suppliers to reach buyers around the world. Through our events and mission programme, we provided a route to market for tourism suppliers. Overall, our travel trade activity generated a tourism spend of £71.8m.

Our overseas missions connected British tourism businesses with buyers worldwide:

  • China: 91 UK suppliers met with more than 100 buyers – an increase on 2015/16
  • South Korea: 31 UK businesses established links with 40 buyers in this key East Asian market
  • Nordics: 33 UK attendees showcased Britain’s tourism offer to 30 buyers
  • India: 76 local businesses and three major media organisations connected with 31 UK operators
  • Australia: 19 UK companies were joined by more than 400 buyers in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney
  • On the Britain pavilion at ITB Berlin, 30 UK suppliers had the opportunity to connect with up to 100,000 trade visitors and 1,000 buyers at the show.


Welcoming international buyers

Our third ExploreGB 2017 trade event saw more than 400 international buyers from 40 countries meet 430 UK travel and tourism operators.

Delegates also experienced Britain’s world-class tourism first-hand through a series of arranged educational visits, with nearly 300 buyers and journalists from 20 key markets experiencing the best from key destinations across the UK.

The VisitBritain International Business Exchange (VIBE) in London and Cardiff, allowed us to provide marketing advice, seminars and one-to-one meetings to over 100 UK tourism businesses and destinations to help them reach inbound tourism markets.


Developing online trade support

In 2016/17, our dedicated travel trade website continued to provide information and guidance for the international travel trade and UK suppliers. Information provided included the launch of our new Product development initiatives across Rail, Discover England Fund and Food & Drink including recommended itinerary information.

  • Our travel trade website achieved more than 50,000 visits and 127,000 page views in 2016/17
  • Over 7,500 registered for, our e-learning programme designed to help the travel industry improve product knowledge and provide guidance on marketing Britain to the world. It received 30,000 visits this year
  • We have continued to enhance the BritAgent training programme with new modules on London, rail travel, Inverness and Loch Ness.



ExploreGB highlights film
Trade website screengab
Our new travel trade website
VB Shop screengrab
Bookable products available on the VisitBritain Shop

Boosting business through our shop

This year saw us offer more products and develop new tools and approaches for our online shop, to grow visits and encourage tourists to explore more of Britain. We harnessed the power of digital media to connect visitors with products and services across the UK and to increase awareness of the incredible variety of tourism available nationwide.

We continue to work with Transport for London in partnership to build awareness of tube, bus and Santander Cycle Hire promoting across the shop network which led to  an increase in sales of +19% versus last year.

During 2016/17, we merged Visa Facilitation Services (VFS) shops with our VisitBritain Shop platform to make it easier for visitors to access more products across the VFS network.

Nine newly created, monthly newsletters cover all aspects of the visitor journey, from pre- and post-travel to special offers and industry updates. These newsletters are targeted to customers who have purchased within 4 weeks of travel. 

  • A new ‘Hub City’ approach offered comprehensive itineraries to build awareness of destinations across the length and breadth of Britain. More than 14 products are now live in Wales, 36 in Scotland, 68 in England and five in Northern Ireland
  • Over 70 new products were loaded on the VisitBritain Shop platform, taking the total number of bookable products to more than 350, including 123 regional itineraries
  • VisitBritain’s online shop revenue reached £28.4m with a net profit of £2.23m – up 25% on 2015/16 – income that can be reinvested in marketing Britain overseas
  • New seasonal campaigns for bookable products focussing on key events such as Easter, summer, Halloween, Christmas and Valentine’s Day have led to an average of 12% increase in sales in the period versus prior year.
"This year we collaborated closely with the travel trade to enable British tourism suppliers to reach buyers around the world. Through our events and mission programme, we provided a route to market for tourism suppliers."