• 13 May 2013

– Record £5.3b spent by APMEA countries in 2012 representing 28% of UK’s inbound tourism revenue –

VisitBritain kicked-off its flagship international travel trade event, Destination Britain 2013, in Bangkok today. Celebrating its 10th year, the tourism gathering will open with a record 35% of new suppliers, showcasing their strongest UK travel and tourism offerings.

The event offers British tourism businesses a crucial route to market and a unique opportunity to further boost the 4.2 million visits and record £5.3 billion spent in Britain by visitors from this part of the world. APMEA is a key region for Britain in terms of value, accounting for 28% of total tourism spend, an amount that has grown considerably over the last few years (35% growth since 2008).

Destination Britain APMEA is VisitBritain’s largest overseas trade event, with over 200 companies and travel industry specialists attending over three days. This year is set to break attendance records, with 60 UK companies comprising attractions, hotels, tour operators, regional, and national tourist boards and transport providers taking part.

In the 2012 Olympic year, Britain welcomed 31 million visitors from across the world, spending £18.6 billion. VisitBritain has recently outlined a growth strategy that aims to boost inbound tourism to 40 million visits and £31.5 billion in spend by 2020 (3% year-on-year growth).

A key component of the 2020 growth strategy involves plans to expand the GCC region(1). These markets are becoming increasingly important, accounting for £1.2b spend in 2012, representing 22% of the APMEA total. The organisation will now increase its reach across Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Jeddah, Kuwait City and Qatar. This larger network along with partner activity will enable VisitBritain to engage with high spending Arab families and the increasingly important youth market.

To support their efforts, and after successful partnerships with British Airways across the world, VisitBritain and Emirates airline have agreed a £2 million, two-year partnership to promote Britain overseas. The deal will include a combination of marketing in kind and cash payments. Emirates cover a vast network of routes and destinations across South East Asia, Australia, India and the GCC.

Keith Beecham, VisitBritain’s Overseas Director said:Destination Britain is another example of how we continue to work with the APMEA trade, helping ensure Britain is front of mind when it comes to destination choice. It also allows us to promote our great British product across a wide network of countries and enables us to provide a route to export growth for UK businesses at a key time for the economy.

“This is one of our most sought after events, with operators recognising the great potential of APMEA and the opportunity it brings to increase the millions of visitors arriving from the region every year. Along with increased trade engagement and a new partnership with Emirates, this year will witness the continuation of our GREAT Britain marketing campaign, inspiring more travel from an increasingly popular and high spending region.”

President of Emirates airline, Tim Clark, added: “Emirates’ partnership with VisitBritain underlines our commitment to supporting inbound tourism into the country. Emirates injects over £368 million each year into the local economies of the six gateways we operate from and in 2012, we carried almost 1.8 million visitors into the UK, so this partnership is a natural extension of bolstering the convenience of our Dubai hub to seamlessly connect travellers from South East Asia, Australia, India and the Middle East to world-renowned attractions in Britain.”

Notes to Editors:

1. UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain.

2. Previous locations DEBI has been held include Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand (Phuket), China, Australia, Hong Kong, Dubai and India.

3. See media pack for list of UK suppliers.

For more information contact:

About VisitBritain

VisitBritain is Britain’s national tourism agency, responsible for marketing Britain overseas. We work with thousands of organisations in the UK and overseas to market Britain successfully to visitors from around the world. We also work to promote the tourism industry within the UK itself.

We work in partnership with the Government, the industry and our strategic partners in London, England, Scotland and Wales to promote Britain in 35 key overseas markets.

Our network of international offices is supported by our London-based marketing, commercial, research and policy teams, who in turn are backed up by experts in IT, financial management and other essential disciplines.

We also provide UK government with advice on tourism policy and raise awareness of the significance of tourism to the UK economy. We are particularly working towards showcasing Britain and maximising the tourism benefits in the run-up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and beyond.

Our grant in aid received from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is approximately £32.6 million for 2010/11.

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