Welcome remarks from our Chairman Nick de Bois CBE at Destination Britain North America

08 September 2023

Welcome remarks from our Chairman Nick de Bois CBE at Destination Britain North America – our flagship trade mission to North America, being held in San Francisco from 7-9 September.

"Good evening everyone, it is my pleasure to join you at Destination Britain North America 2023, here in San Francisco.

At VisitBritain, our purpose is to drive a thriving tourism industry across Britain.

And that is exactly why we are here; to connect British suppliers with the top buyers across the US and Canada to maximise the growth we’ve seen from these markets.

North America has played an enormous part in driving the recovery of inbound tourism to Britain post-pandemic.

The US is leading the recovery. It remains our largest and most valuable market and is now exceeding pre-pandemic levels for both volume and spend.

In fact, the UK was the most visited European destination for Americans in 2022, for the first time since 2017. 

And we’re forecasting continued strong growth in 2023, with US visitors expected to spend a record high £6.9bn this year. 

2022 was also a record year for spend by Canadian visitors too, reaching just under £1bn for the first time.

And we believe there is still more untapped potential to build from these markets.

We want to inspire visitors to discover more, stay longer and explore year-round.

We are inviting North American visitors to discover Britain in a new way, encouraging visitors to ‘See Things Differently’ by showing richness of Britain’s regional diversity.

Our multi-million-dollar GREAT campaign shows Britain as a dynamic, diverse, and exciting destination, packed full of activities, with a warm British welcome at its heart.

Using our campaigns to inspire visitors to choose Britain as their next destination is only step one.

In order to drive visitor value, we need to convert this inspiration into bookings, and that’s where it is vital that we work with partners - like you - to sell all the amazing experiences Britain has to offer to the world.

As you will soon find out, the British suppliers attending DBNA bring to life the themes we are communicating in our campaigns, offering products and destinations that will give travellers a memorable, authentic, and sometimes unexpected trip.

I know the connections you make over the conference will only continue to boost the fantastic growth we are seeing across North American markets.

I look forward to chatting with as many of you as possible over the next few days but for now, enjoy your evening."