The London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games – putting destination Britain centre stage

The global exposure that Britain enjoyed in 2012 provided an unprecedented opportunity for VisitBritain to ensure that the whole of the UK visitor economy benefited from the 2012 Games. It gave us a platform to push the wider messages and interests of destination Britain, to showcase the whole of Britain, to deliver a world-class welcome and to maximise the economic benefits of tourism across the UK.

From the moment the bid was won, our intention was not just to promote the few weeks of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, but to make full use of the opportunities to promote Britain before, during and after Games-time, to reach new customers in emerging markets and to refresh Britain’s appeal in established markets.

After in-depth research, consultations, workshops and fact-finding missions we formulated a strategy with three objectives:

  • Economic benefit
  • Image
  • Welcome.

To achieve our objectives of economic benefit, image and welcome, we worked closely with UK destinations and the tourism industry, with the international travel trade, with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), the Cabinet Office, government bodies and agencies, National Olympic Committees and with a Top Olympic partner (TOP).

And then, with Britain’s image and reputation around the world riding high after the Games, we seized the moment to turn viewers into visitors and did what no other host nation has done – rolled out a post-Games marketing campaign the day after the Games ended.

See how the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games shifted the dial on the image of Britain and inbound tourism (PDF, 3.53MB). Published 2013.

Read our plans and achievements (PDF, 2.15MB) in the run-up to and during the London 2012 Games. Published November 2012

Delivering a Golden Legacy

In April 2013 the then Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport launched VisitBritain’s long term tourism growth strategy for Britain. This ambitious strategy - Delivering a Golden Legacy: a growth strategy for inbound tourism 2012-2020 (PDF, 4.53MB) - set out what Britain could do to ensure that international tourism delivered the largest economic benefit possible and how marketing and policy objectives could be aligned. It aimed to attract 40 million international visitors a year, spending £31.5 billion, by 2020.

We also conducted a major piece of work, producing assessments of Britain’s competitive position in each of our 21 priority markets − identifying opportunities for and barriers to growth. This work identified four key elements which together are drivers of future success:

  • Build on Britain’s image
  • Increase distribution through the travel trade
  • Broaden the product offering and make it easier to visit Britain by improving Britain’s visa process
  • Increasing aviation capacity to promote new air routes, particularly from emerging markets

None of this was within the gift of any single organisation. This was a strategy for Britain – with the travel industry, government departments and agencies united behind a clear long-term ambition for growth. Working in partnership, organisations across the public and private sectors aligned to deliver tourism’s full economic growth potential over the remainder of this decade.

Download the Delivering a Golden Legacy: a growth strategy for inbound tourism 2012-2020 (PDF, 4.53MB).