Latest updates on our activity - July 2023:
Celebrating one-year on:
As we mark the one-year anniversary of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, we’re celebrating the work our international marketing programmes delivered to cement Britain’s reputation for hosting a world-class sporting event and make the West Midlands a must-visit destination.
For over two years, VisitBritain worked to grow the appeal of the West Midlands, focusing on the three markets with the strongest connections to Britain: Australia, Canada, and India. These markets are the source of two and a half million UK visitors annually, who spend billions, and deliver 160,000 sports tourists to the UK each year.
Our programme first grew awareness and familiarity of the West Midlands region, then active inspiration, and ultimately a consideration to visit. The integrated brand and partnership campaign approach brought to life the huge diversity of visitor experiences in the heart of England, using the “One Region Many Worlds” creative. We built the hype and excitement around the Commonwealth Games and continues to promote its legacy to this day.
During the Games, we were on the ground hosting more than 60 top tier media and key tourism industry leaders from across Australia, Canada and India. Paid media and partnerships targeted VisitBritain’s priority experience seeker, sports and culturally curious audiences. 14 global media content campaigns were delivered, 23 stories and campaign videos were created, along with 400 new video and image assets for VisitBritain’s global partners to use in promotion of the region.
To ensure the travel trade could convert the growing demand for the West Midlands, we undertook an extensive trade education programme, training up to 2,000+ travel agents and tour operators, and embarked on multi-city roadshows to further spread the word. International buyers also attended the dedicated ‘Tourism Day’, hosted by VisitBritain in partnership with the West Midlands Growth Company at UK House during the Games (further details below).
The results of our efforts were immense and helped create an unprecedented international profile for the West Midlands:
- Awareness and familiarity of the West Midlands grew in all three countries by 6%
- Consideration to visit increased by 11%
- 87% of the travel trade engaged, developed new or modified products for the West Midlands region
- Over 4,000 holiday bookings in the first year alone
Our efforts didn’t stop with the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Marketing efforts continue to build momentum and deliver a legacy beyond the Games, ensuring that the West Midlands remains a must-see destination in Britain for international visitors.
For more information on our work, please see below.
During the Games, VisitBritain welcomed more than 40 top travel buyers, tour operators and trade media from Australia, Canada and India on educational visits to Birmingham and the West Midlands, in partnership with the West Midlands Growth Company. This was part of our wider programme of work through the Business and Tourism Programme.
- Read more about the visits.
- UK House – Tourism Day 5 August 2022:
The international buyers met to do business with British travel trade suppliers and destinations from the West Midlands region during the Games as part of a dedicated ‘Tourism Day’ which took place on 5 August 2022, at UK House, The Commonwealth Business Hub. The trade showcase, hosted by VisitBritain in partnership with the West Midlands Growth Company, was part of the programme of events, led by the Department for International Trade. Britain’s ability to host world-class sporting events was in the global spotlight during the Games and the Tourism Day presented a great opportunity for leading industry stakeholders, including our CEO Patricia Yates, to come together to highlight the importance of major events to the visitor economy, further harnessing opportunities to drive tourism across the nations and regions.
Focusing on diversity, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games was the ‘Games for Everyone’, with Birmingham a truly global city, home to people from more than 180 countries.
Taking place from 28 July to 8 August 2022, the Games were the biggest sporting and cultural event ever held in Birmingham, with thousands of world class athletes, more than one million spectators, reaching an estimated global audience of 1.5 billion.
Running alongside the sporting programme was a six-month cultural festival, the Birmingham 2022 Festival, which took place from March 2022 to celebrate creativity across the West Midlands. The Queen’s Baton Relay also travelled around the Commonwealth in the lead up to the Games, including a historic stop in Dubai, UAE, in February 2022 as part of UK National Day at Dubai Expo, and the UK before arriving in Birmingham for the Opening Ceremony on 28 July. The relay also travelled to our key markets of Australia, Canada and India, where we welcomed the arrival of the Baton, leveraging the event to build awareness of the West Midlands and Britain with key tourism partners including airlines, tour operators and travel agents, as well as consumer and trade media.
The UK Government also funded a £24 million, three year, Business and Tourism Programme (BATP). Focusing on tourism, trade and investment, the programme has been delivered by a range of national and regional partners including VisitBritain and is supporting in cementing the region, and Britain, as a globally sought after location to visit, invest and live.VisitBritain received circa £2 million funding from the BATP for the two-year programme, working with the West Midlands Growth Company, to promote and boost awareness of the West Midland’s tourism offer in Australia, Canada and India. The programme focused around converting the inspiration to visit into bookings and to encourage visitors to explore more and stay longer, stimulating spend in the tourism sector in the lead-up to the Games and beyond.
Activity across these markets ranged from content partnerships with media to training and engagement with in-market travel trade to boost awareness of the region’s tourism offer, as well as activity across both our business-to-business and business-to-consumer channels. Also, by using key milestone events in-market, for example The Queen’s Baton Relay events, countdown milestones ‘One Year to Go’ celebrated in July 2021, ‘100 Days to Go’ on 19 April and 50 Days to Go on 8 June, working with Government partners, stakeholders, travel trade and media, we are ensuring the widest reach.
In the lead up to the Games, we launched a dedicated hub on our consumer websites in Australia, Canada and India (as well as a hub on our global site) using the Games as a hook boosting awareness/building familiarity, and educating audiences ready to convert to book travel during and post-Games.
Our ‘Welcome to Another Side of Britain’ global marketing campaign also harnessed the Games alongside last year’s other landmark events including HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and the ground breaking series of ‘Unboxed’ creative events across the UK.
We also delivered a wide range of activity as part of BATP, see some highlights broken down by market in the drop downs below: