• 30 May 2013

Latest figures from VisitBritain show that Britain’s global appeal as a tourist destination is benefiting from its biggest ever image campaign, resulting in a potential £200 million of additional visitor spending in the UK over the next two years.

The £25 million GREAT image tourism campaign – which targeted 14 major cities in nine countries – is performing well on the international stage, especially when benchmarked against competitor tourist boards with substantially larger budgets.

GREAT tourism activity continues to achieve high levels of reach and recall – 72% of the audience in target cities recall seeing the GREAT campaign. It also continues to increase the number of people actively considering visiting the UK in the next year because of the VisitBritain ads – 23 % of those who recall the campaign plan to visit in the next year as opposed to 11% of those who do not recall the campaign.(1)

The national tourism agency estimates that its GREAT image activity is helping drive uplift in the number of people worldwide looking to come to experience the very best of what Britain has to offer. This increased intention to visit then feeds into VisitBritain’s partnership marketing – offering great deals with commercial partners such as British Airways to encourage bookings. The findings are a boost for the organisation as it fights to increase visitor numbers in an extremely competitive marketplace.

Analysis of the first year of VisitBritain’s GREAT activity has revealed that it has potentially delivered an additional 422,000 visits from the target cities.(2) This potential return from visits means the tourism component of the GREAT campaign has achieved a return on investment of 8:1.

The findings also indicate that the campaign is helping to showcase the whole of Britain. Across all of the survey cities, people strongly agreed that the promotional work made them want to visit places outside of London.(3)

Sandie Dawe, Chief Executive of VisitBritain said: “In 2012 Britain became the first Olympic host since Sydney to see an increase in inbound tourism in the year of the Games.

“The GREAT campaign is playing a major role in our efforts to attract a greater number of overseas visitors, with those seeing our images increasingly likely to visit the UK in the next few years. It is essential that we continue to deliver this campaign in our high value tourism markets and the growth markets of the future if we are to enhance overseas perceptions of Britain as a must see destination.”

Culture Secretary Maria Miller said: “The GREAT campaign has been fantastic, encouraging overseas visitors to come and experience the very best of Britain. We need to keep up the momentum, and continue to increase both the number of visitor numbers and the amount of money they spend here. The tourism industry has a key role to play in delivering economic growth and the GREAT campaign remains at the heart of the sector’s strategy.”

In 2012, the UK welcomed 31 million overseas visitors spending a record £18.6 billion in the process. By 2020, VisitBritain believes the UK could welcome 40 million overseas visitors a year, contributing £31.5 billion annually to the economy.

Notes to Editors:

  1. 23% of those surveyed who recall the campaign plan to visit in the next year, compared with 11% amongst those who do not recall the campaign.
  2. Research was undertaken in the nine markets where the GREAT image campaign has been running, namely: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan and the USA.
  3. 28% of those surveyed indicated they strongly agreed that they would want to visit destinations beyond London, with 27% indicating that a visit to London was likely as a result of the campaign.
  4. As part of the global study conducted by Ipsos MORI, almost 15,000 potential visitors were asked a range of questions to gauge their interest, consideration and likelihood to visit the UK in the next year and longer term. Respondents were also asked to recall any travel advertising they had seen for key competitor countries (USA, France, Italy and Australia).
  5. USA, France and Italy are all ranked above the UK in the UNWTO table, meaning they receive more international visitors annually.
  6. Analysis of the data suggests that without the image campaign taking place there was a potential downturn of 903,000 visits. Over the course of the campaign this would equate to the loss of around £465 million as a result.
  7. The “GREAT Britain, You’re Invited” campaign is running in parallel to the GRAET image campaign. This is VisitBritain’s biggest ever marketing programme, worth £100m over a four-year period.

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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.

View our film to find out more about our work.

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