Every year we organise sales missions around the globe, bringing the UK tourism industry together with key players in the international travel trade. We build knowledge of Britain among key influencers by delivering workshops and seminars across our overseas network. And we attract agents and operators to Britain to showcase the best of British on home soil. Some of our recent highlights include:
In 2020, the Business Events sector ran a campaign, Events.Reimagined to show unity, understanding and cameraderie with the business events sector, one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. The campaign was incorporated across trade events including MeetGB, MeetEngland and ExploreGB.
MeetGB Virtual - October 2020
- 2.3 million campaign impressions
- 1.2 million video views
MeetEngland Virtual - Feb 2021
- 20.4 million campaign impressions
- 265k video views
ExploreGB Virtual - March 2021
1,541 delegates registered for the ExploreGB online event. This included:
- 342 international buyers
- 62 DMOs
- 292 UK Trade
- 150 UK secondary delegates
An Open Letter of Support campaign was also launched in response to COVID-19.
- This reached 158K event professionals.
The VisitBritain International Business Exchange (VIBE) took place in London on 7 & 8 October and Stratford-upon-Avon 10 October. Around 140 UK suppliers met with 30 in-market experts from around the world in pre-scheduled one-to-one meetings to find out more about the market including inbound trends, visitor behaviour and how to reach international visitors a. A seminar programme included updates on England activity such as the Discover England Fund, TXGB and Taking England to the World; plus research updates took place on tourism trends and sustainability.
ExploreGB, our flagship trade event was held in Harrogate 8-10 May 2019. The event brought together over 310 UK suppliers and 250 international buyers and 20 international media for two days of one to one appointments. The US and Canadian Tourism Advisory Councils also held Q&A sessions for suppliers on Wednesday 8 May.
Over 25,000 meetings were held across two days, providing UK suppliers with the opportunity to meet and do business with buyers from 30 markets worldwide in one room. International buyers also experienced the best in Britain with educational trips around the country pre- or post-event.
ITB Berlin 2019
We hosted 52 partners on our fully branded stand at ITB Berlin 2019, one of the world’s largest travel trade events, between 6 -10 March.
Attended by 160, 000 visitors including over 10,000 trade professionals, it provided a prime opportunity to meet and do business with influential international travel trade.
The event ran over five days with three days of 1-2-1 meetings with travel trade from over 180 countries. This was followed by opening for two days to the consumer market, promoting Britain to German visitors.
Destination Britain China and North East Asia
From 19-21 November 2018, over 90 UK travel trade met and did business with over 85 Chinese, Korean and Japanese buyers and 13 media at Destination Britain China and North-East Asia. To mark the 10th anniversary, we returned to the city where the first Destination Britain China event was held in Sanya, Hainan.
The sell-out event provided suppliers and buyers with a schedule of one to one meetings alongside industry seminars and networking opportunities. Over 5000 business meetings took place throughout the event offering suppliers a unique opportunity to access the world’s most valuable outbound market.
Building trade from North America to Britain
Destination Britain North America 2018 saw 150 UK suppliers and North American buyers convene in Austin, Texas to promote Britain’s tourism product at our event, Destination Britain North America.
The event took place from 14-17 October 2018, where UK suppliers were able to promote their product and local tourism offers with the aim to build more Britain packages from USA and Canada. Networking was key at the event, with evening and informal opportunities to meet influential buyers from two of Britain’s valuable inbound markets.
From 7-11 March 2018 we exhibited at ITB Berlin with over 50 UK partners joining us on our Britain stand. ITB is the world’s largest travel trade exhibition. The five-day trade show provided extensive networking opportunities and business meetings, with the final two days open to the public.
On the eve of ITB Berlin our CEO, Sally Balcombe, officially launched our new marketing campaign, ‘I Travel For’ in Europe, over 200 guests from across the industry attended.
ExploreGB in NewcastleGateshead
The best of destination Britain was showcased at our annual ExploreGB travel trade event in NewcastleGateshead 1-2 March 2018. Now in its fourth year, we were joined by more than 280 international travel buyers from 29 countries who met to build their business with around 330 tourism suppliers from across the UK. After the event buyers and media travelled around the country to experience the tourism product Britain has to offer, the educational itineraries were themed around our product development work around rail, luxury, gateways and food and drink.
Showcasing Britain to Chinese buyers
At our ninth annual Destination Britain China event held in Guangzhou in November 2017 we welcomed 75 Chinese buyers from 13 cities to meet and do business with over 60 UK suppliers and travel trade. At the event the buyers and suppliers participated in 3,500 business meetings and learnt what makes Britain a great destination. The programme included pre-scheduled one-to-one meetings, a welcome reception, gala dinner and media activity. During the event we held an industry forum for UK suppliers sharing the latest market insights, trends and guest speakers from DIT and UKVI as well as CTRIP.
We also held product seminars to update the Chinese buyers on new food and drink and rail products.
VisitBritain's International Business Exchange (VIBE) goes to Glasgow and London
In October 2017 we held our International Business Exchange in London and Glasgow, it was the first time we held this event in Scotland. This annual event allows us to provide insights and international marketing advice to UK-based tourism suppliers who are interested in reaching and welcoming overseas visitors. The day is made up of pre-scheduled one-to-one meetings and a seminar programme, we provide updates on market trends. The presentation given regarding the update on our product development work (PDF, 4MB) is available to download.
Connecting UK suppliers and North American buyers
In September 2017 we held the ninth Destination Britain North America in Los Angeles, 70 UK suppliers attended the event, 19 of whom were new suppliers and included Discover England Fund projects. The event allows British tourism suppliers to grow existing and new business relationships with the North American markets USA and Canada.
Over the three day event over 75 buyers and travel trade media participated in over 3,200 business meetings. We also held educational seminars for the buyers covering our product development themes including rail, food and drink, luxury and gateways.
Promoting Britain to quality buyers in the Nordics
In December 2016 we held our Destination Britain Nordics sales mission which enabled suppliers to build relationships with 40 buyers from Denmark, Norway and Sweden through one-to-one business appointments. For many of the UK suppliers, this was their first sales mission to the Nordics. The meetings were followed by an informal evening reception and dinner for delegates to network in a friendly and relaxing atmosphere. Find out more about the Nordic markets.
Destination Britain China and South Korea
In November we were joined by 86 British travel trade and industry suppliers in Shanghai at the eighth Destination Britain China sales mission. The event showcased what makes Britain a great destination to over 100 Chinese buyers, across 15 Chinese cities. More than half of the UK delegation attended the mission for the first time, with a broad spectrum of British destinations and products, suppliers came from across Britain - from Birmingham, Canterbury, Dorset and London, to Leeds, the Lake District, Northumberland and Inverness. During the event, an industry forum was held sharing the latest market conditions and insights from China with the delegates. We also held B2B and visa update seminars for Chinese buyers, introducing them to the latest products. Some of the delegation extended to Seoul where 30 travel trade and industry met with 80 South Korean suppliers, it was the first time we had held an event in South Korea in five years.
Our International Business Exchange goes to London and Cardiff
In October 2016 we held our annual International Business Exchange in London and Cardiff. This event allows us to provide international marketing advice and insights to UK-based tourism suppliers interested in reaching and welcoming overseas visitors. Through pre-scheduled, one-to-one meetings and a seminar programme, we provide updates on market trends and advice. Our London workshop was attended by 64 UK tourism suppliers who met with 34 members of staff from 22 markets and team members from our key functional areas, 668 individual appointments were held. Our Cardiff workshop held at Hensol Castle was attended by 53 companies, 43% of which had never attended one of our events ever before, and a total of 663 individual appointments were held.
Bringing Britain to Australia for the first time in a decade
In May 2016, we held our first travel trade roadshow in Australia in a decade, the roadshow travelled through Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. Over 450 front-line travel agents were trained by 19 UK suppliers spanning culture, heritage and sport to music experiences and attractions, showcasing regional Britain’s latest tourism offerings. Australia has recently been designated a GREAT market, it is a £1 billion market for Britain and is our 4th most valuable market for visitor spend. Visitors from Australia stay longer, averaging just over 14 nights and they also travel further with more than half visiting the English regions, one in seven visiting Scotland and 7% travelling to Wales.
Over 700 suppliers, buyers and media meet at ExploreGB
Some of the best of Britain was on show to hundreds of global buyers at our annual flagship event, ExploreGB. Joining us in Liverpool were 370 British and Irish suppliers, 325 international buyers and 29 members of the international media from 40 markets with the aim to attract more international visitors across the nations and regions of Britain. Over the course of the event, over 28,500 pre-scheduled one-to-one appointments took place before buyers and media travelled around the country to experience the tourism product Britain has to offer. At the event we announced Brighton as the next host of ExploreGB, taking place from 2-3 March 2017.
Building business to Britain from the Nordic markets
On 3 December 2015, we enabled 33 UK suppliers to meet with 40 quality buyers representing the travel trade from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. During the event, buyers attended destination presentations focusing on the North East, the South West, the South East and London where they found out what opportunities there are in building packages to the regions.
Showcasing Britain to the world’s largest outbound market
Our annual Destination Britain China event provides a platform for the UK tourism industry to do business with the top travel buyers in China. More than 70 travel trade and industry suppliers from the UK including hotels, retailers and tour operators joined us at our Destination Britain China 2015 sales mission in Beijing from 23-25 November. 100 buyers from 14 cities across China as well as Hong Kong had the chance to see the latest tourism offerings from across the UK with suppliers from Oxford, Canterbury, Harrow, Leeds, the Lake District, Northumberland and Inverness to name a few.
Taking the International Business Exchange to London & Liverpool
In October 2015 we held our annual International Business Exchange event in two locations for the first time. This event is our main opportunity to provide international marketing advice and insights to UK-based tourism suppliers interested in reaching and welcoming overseas visitors. Through pre-scheduled, one-to-one meetings and a seminar programme, we provide updates on market trends and advice. Our London workshop was attended by 81 tourism suppliers who met with 31 members of staff through a total of 1,580 twelve minute appointments.
Our Liverpool workshop, exclusively for suppliers from North England, was sponsored by the Northern Tourism Growth Fund. Here 46 tourism companies attended, 45% of which had never attended one of our events before, and a total of 1,340 one-to-one appointments were held.
Connecting North and South American buyers and media with UK suppliers
In September 2015 we held our largest event outside of Britain, Destination Britain Americas, in Mexico. The event offered British tourism suppliers the opportunity to nurture business relationships with the North America markets of Canada and the United States as well as making new connections with the growth markets of Latin America, Brazil, Columbia and Mexico.
Over the three day event we brought together 198 buyers, suppliers and travel trade media to participate in nearly 5,000 business meetings. We held three educational product seminars to introduce buyers to a new perspective of Britain.
New luxury travel brochure launched at ILTM Asia
In June 2015, we attended the International Luxury Travel Show in Shanghai, alongside 20 of our UK trade partners. Over 1,300 pre-scheduled appointments were conducted between our stand partners and luxury buyers from across the Asia Pacific including China, India, Malaysia, the Philippines and Australia.
Alongside appointments, we launched a new luxury travel brochure, an informative guide on luxury products are available within Britain. The guide provides tips and ideas such as our top ten hidden luxury gems for 2015.
Destination Britain APMEA 2015 focuses on countryside, luxury & culture
Celebrating its 12th year, Destination Britain APMEA, took place in Bali, Indonesia in May 2015 with 53 UK companies including 9 new suppliers to the event attending. The event played host to 84 buyers from 18 markets and 13 international media over three days with 5,346 appointments conducted. Accompanying the appointment schedule was a comprehensive destination seminar programme for the buyers, focused on how to package countryside, luxury and culture into bookable itineraries.
Over 23,000 pre-scheduled appointments at our inaugural ExploreGB event
In February 2015, we held our first ExploreGB event, extending our efforts to give British businesses a route to market and help overseas trade to sell Britain. For the two-day event, held at Ascot racecourse, we hosted 251 international buyers and 21 international media from 40 key markets including China, Australia, Germany and Brazil. We arranged 23,756 pre-scheduled appointments between international buyers and 320 UK and Ireland tourism businesses, organised networking opportunities through our evening dinners, and followed the event with a series of familiarisation trips across Britain. Watch the highlights of the 2015 event.
First-ever trade workshop in Qatar
We worked hard to build knowledge of Britain among key influencers in 2013/14, by delivering workshops and seminars across our overseas network. This included our first ever trade workshop in Qatar, which reached 38 trade professionals and featured the announcement of the Electronic Visa Waiver scheme for the Gulf states of Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE. What’s more, through our seminars in the key growth market of India, we engaged with 385 companies and over 450 trade professionals across ten cities.