Britain has Great expectations

London will be the centre of attraction next year when it hosts the 2012 Olympics

VISITBRITAIN expects a surge in Gulf visitors to the UK, following a new infusion of government funding.

The UK Culture Secretary recently announced that VisitBritain will benefit from a further £27 million ($42 million) of funding to help promote Britain in key overseas markets in a continued effort to drive greater numbers of visitors to the country over the next four years.

Funding for the national tourism agency will be made available to capitalise on the international attention the UK will receive during 2012 – the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. This will be in addition to the existing £100 million ($157 million) marketing campaign being run by VisitBritain, and means that over the next four years inbound tourism to the UK aims to attract an extra 4.6 million visitors, spending an additional £2.3 billion ($3.6 billion) across the country and supporting the creation of almost 60,000 new jobs.

VisitBritan’s Carol Madisson, who is based in the Gulf, says:  “We are capitalising on a raft of unique events that will take place in Britain throughout 2012, most notably the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and we strongly believe that Gulf residents will want to be a part of Britain’s unfolding history of event excellence. This initiative is part of the GREAT campaign launched by the Prime Minister in September to show the world that Britain is a great place to visit, to live, to invest and to do business with.”

Chief executive of VisitBritain Sandie Dawe said: “This additional funding means we will be able to run the largest tourism marketing campaign in our history. We will be taking the GREAT brand into some of the most dynamic, fastest growing and economically important cities across the world to encourage a greater number of people to come and experience the very best of what Britain has to offer.

“New Yorkers will see our ads in their papers and on the subway as they travel to work, meaning 72 per cent of our target audience there will have 14 opportunities to see our campaign. In India and Paris we will also be on cinemas screens, while in China we will reach over 15 million potential visitors through a combination of magazines, subways and stations ads, as well as using a raft of online platforms.

“Alongside the inspirational images that will inspire the world to put Britain on its destination wish list, tactical advertising with our industry partners will offer great deals to encourage people to visit now. This GREAT campaign aims to reinvigorate our appeal in mature markets such as the US where we have seen decline in recent years, and it will help raise our profile in the vital emerging markets, securing growth for the future.

“Our targets are ambitious, but inbound tourism is already Britain’s third-largest earner of foreign exchange and we know more can be done. VisitBritain’s research indicates tourism has the potential to be one of the five fastest growing sectors of the UK in the years ahead, creating new jobs and helping sustain economic growth. The significant announcement will go a long way to helping us achieve that aim.”