Powering tourism growth through partnerships

Developing a new partnership approach
Collaborating globally
Maximising returns

In 2016/17, we developed new approaches and collaborated with high-profile commercial and strategic partners to maximise private investment, extend global awareness of Britain’s tourism product and maximise opportunities to boost tourism in Britain.

Developing our partnership strategy

We work with partners across the industry and Government to support tourism and economic growth. This year we continued to evolve our partnership strategy, building fewer but broader global partnerships, with new initiatives to extend partner influence across the visitor journey we worked to improve awareness, of Britain making use of new channels and reaching more people to inspire more visits. In 2016/17 our partnership deals generated £20m for VisitBritain, in a combination of cash and in-kind support for our campaigns.


Collaborating globally

A three-year, in-principle deal with Expedia, worth £25m, is already bringing results. Our bespoke content platform: 365 days of #OMGB – Home of Amazing Moments in the US, France and Germany, achieved 39% YOY passenger growth.

In addition ‘The Only Place You Need To Go’ interactive digital campaign, which aimed to promote Britain as a warm, welcoming destination to the US market, was launched in February and took home three awards from this year’s International Festival of Creativity.The Festival, also known as Cannes Lions, showcases the best in advertising and winning an award is one of the highest honours in advertising. The campaign won awards in the ‘Cyber’, ‘Digital’ and ‘Mobile’ categories – Gold, Silver & Bronze awards.

British destinations such as London, Manchester, Cornwall, Wales and Scotland are all featured in the campaign, with each one presented to the audience by a local guide.

In 2016/17 our partnership with Flight Centre produced four new campaigns in Australia and New Zealand, resulting in an increase in room nights (from 45% to 51% across the campaigns) and year-on-year passenger numbers (from 29% to 65%).

In collaboration with Marking Manchester, Manchester Airport, and Hainan and Virgin Atlantic, we piloted a new ‘Gateway’ partnership to support new routes from China and the US.

In 2016/17 we attracted 2 for 1 funding from British Airways/American Airlines for a campaign targeting US millennials, and we will continue to work closely with both airlines over the next two years.

As well as forging links with leading travel sector brands, we extended our reach through partnerships with non-tourism global brands. Collaborations surrounding King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Games of Thrones, alongside high-profile brands such as the BBC and The Premier League, have all helped us to celebrate and promote the range of amazing moments on offer in the nations and regions of Britain.

Other activity included:

  • Tailored content surrounding Britain’s music festival offering, created with STA Travel, achieved 21%+ YOY air bookings across key markets in Australia, New Zealand, USA and Germany
  • In partnership with P&O ferries, newly developed itineraries for German and Dutch visitors, resulted in YOY booking increases
  • Our work with Qatar Airways in Australia and Gulf Cooperation Council countries produced 54m digital impressions
  • Teaming up with Etihad Airways, we reached 22m people in the UAE, Australia and India through radio, Out of Home (OOH) and print advertising
  • Four new videos, co-created with Virgin Atlantic, now promote new direct routes from San Francisco and Boston to Manchester
  • Our work with EasyJet targeted visitors from Italy, France, Germany and Spain with a mix of OOH activity and MIK, generating 100m opportunities to see
The Only Place You Need To Go - Expedia partnership
Showcasing the destinations behind the Premier League
King Arthur filming locations in Scotland

GREAT and strategic partners

  • We led four successful bids to the GREAT Challenge Fund (GCF), securing £619,500 to extend the #OMGB campaign into new markets:
  • £300,000 for #OMGB in Spain and Italy, working with Pure Brand
  • Following a Marketing Manchester-led bid, Football is GREAT China secured £210,000
  • £100,000 GCF funding for a tactical #OMGB campaign with British Airways
  • Beatles-related activity in Japan will receive a £9,500 GCF boost


Throughout the year we continued to work with public diplomacy partners around the world to strengthen relationships with GREAT collaborators. The Foreign and Commonwealth offices in Sweden, Russia, Australia and China have now formally included tourism within their business plans for 2017/18. Tourism also featured prominently in 15 bids initiated by our public diplomacy partners – worth over £1.3m in GCF funding. In 2016/17, our contribution to the government’s Global Britain communications programme, secured funding for new marketing campaigns through the GREAT Challenge Fund, with further funding in excess of £500,000 secured between April and September to support campaigns and activity in Spain, North America, Indonesia and Russia.

Together with the UK’s national tourist boards, we celebrate and promote travel to all the nations and regions of the country. This year we worked with VisitScotland to create itineraries for Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. Working with VisitWales for Year of Legends 2017, we invited visitors to join the conversation with the #FindYourEpic hashtag. VisitBritain and Tourism Northern Ireland also signed a memorandum of understanding this June, which provides clarity on how we can work with Tourism Northern Ireland and promote Northern Ireland (NI).


"In 2016/17 our partnership deals generated £20m for VisitBritain/VisitEngland, in a combination of cash and in-kind support for our campaigns."