Delivering tourism growth across nations and regions
In 2017/18 we continued to deliver customer-focused activity to drive economic growth across the nations and regions. Using our market knowledge, we’ve reached key target audience segments with inspirational messaging that spans the length and breadth of Britain.
Distributing bookable tourism products to international markets
In 2017/18 we worked actively with industry, the travel trade and partners to bring new bookable products, such as tours and itineraries, to market so visitors can experience more of what the nations and regions of Britain have to offer.
We’ve created itineraries of bookable products in two of our thematic areas – rail travel and food and drink. Over the past 12 months we have created a new content hub to promote travelling around Britain by rail, which hosts new itineraries spanning the nations and regions of Britain as well as our inspirational rail videos translated into seven languages.
We collaborated with leading travel trade partners to share the message further:
- With Cox & Kings India, we trained to 400 agents on England’s rail itineraries and our video was watched by 7.8 million.
- We partnered with Flight Centre to introduce Manchester and Birmingham as regional hubs with rail travel as the enabler.
Another key theme within our product development activity was to put Britain’s cuisine on the map. With our food and drink hubs of Devon and Cornwall, Yorkshire, Scotland and London, we entered the second year of our collaboration with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to boost awareness and perceptions overseas of Britain’s food and drink. We took our message to China and launched the #FoodisGREAT campaign which achieved over 65 million impressions through social media, with the hashtag itself being used over 11.4 million times.
Collaborating with key tour operator Avanti Destinations, we created five new food and drink itineraries which promoted our national food hubs under the tagline ‘Britain’s Local Flavours’. We then trained their agents to upskill them on how to sell more British food and drink products.
Connecting international buyers with UK suppliers
Sharing the insight of Britain’s tourism experiences was also on the agenda at our largest travel trade event, ExploreGB. Following our 2018 event, we took 264 key international travel buyers around the UK on educational trips to showcase our bookable, commissionable products that can be sold to market. Itineraries were tailored around our specific product themes, targeted to the needs of each market.
Over the last 12 months we delivered workshops, seminars and trade events to connect key buyers with UK tourism businesses. Through our sales missions including Destination Britain China, Destination Britain North America and exhibiting at leading trade shows such as ITB Berlin, we helped businesses across Britain’s nations and regions have a platform to do international business. In partnership with UKInbound we have taken stands at both World Travel Market in London (November 2017) and Arabian Travel Market in Dubai (April 2018) to promote our product development, including providing a route to market for Discover England Fund projects.
Providing a route to market for regional products
Over the course of the last 12 months we have diversified the products on sale internationally through our online shop. Giving a route to market for British travel products, 60% of the products we now feature cover regions outside of London.
Our efforts have created a better choice of suitable products on offer and achieved £27.8 million of revenue in 2017/18 and over £2 million in net-profits all which is re-invested in marketing Britain overseas.
The VisitBritain Shop generated £27.8 million revenue in 2017/18. Over £2 million was generated in profit, all of which goes back into the organisation to support marketing activity.
#FoodisGREAT campaign in partnership with DEFRA achieved over 65million social media impressions with the hashtag used over 11.4 million times
Our online business advice hub received almost 140,000 visitors this year, helping businesses across England to grow and increase profitability
The VisitEngland Quality Assurance Scheme helped over 22,000 tourism businesses across England to remain competitive and engage customers
Advising English businesses to grow and succeed
We provide guidance to small and medium-sized tourism businesses across the regions of England, to support their growth. Through a variety of tools, we’ve shared the latest trends and visitor preferences, to advise businesses on how they can become more internationally competitive and attract customers to their destinations.
We’ve used our online Business Advice Hub, which in the last year received over 140,000 visits, to share guidance on a wide-range of tourism issues, such as marketing advice, how to cater for visitors with accessibility requirements and the latest legislation changes that affect tourism businesses.
Alongside our dedication to support tourism businesses is our VisitEngland National Quality Assessment Scheme, which provided tailored advice to over 22,000 tourism businesses across England on how to reach their full potential. Those businesses who have gone above and beyond customer expectations are celebrated at our prestigious VisitEngland Awards for Excellence. Championing the best of the sector, 21 winners were announced from hundreds of entries at this year’s ceremony.
A national campaign to boost visits to England’s regions
We coordinated English Tourism Week, our annual celebration of the English tourism industry that aims to raise the profile of tourism amongst decision-makers, stakeholders and Government whilst increasing consumer awareness of the tourism product available on their doorstep and beyond.
Taking place on 17-25 March 2018, this year saw us share details of local events and offers that were part of the campaign through an online event guide. Our press activity helped shine a spotlight on the benefits of the tourism industry to England, as well as promoting some of the events and offers from the week. This year we partnered with influencers with a combined reach of over 500,000, who acted as ambassadors to help boost awareness of the week and the experiences on offer across the regions.
We also engaged with over 60 MPs, who met tourism businesses in their constituency to support the week. And on social media, our hashtag #ETW18 received 13,000 mentions and 63.8 million impressions. Plus #EnglishTourismWeek trended on Twitter with 82.7 million impressions on the first day of the week.
Organised in partnership with the Daily Mirror, the Tourism Superstar competition runs alongside English Tourism Week to celebrate those individuals working in tourism who go above and beyond in their role to ensure visitors to all parts of England have an unforgettable experience. This year a revamped video format and an online competition on the Daily Mirror website boosted public votes by 260%, with 18,000 votes received, a record for the competition.