• 30 Apr 2013

Cross-sector partnership to grow tourism visits 29% by 2020-
£2m new partnership announced with Emirates airline

Maria Miller today launched a tourism partnership strategy for Britain which calls for the travel industry and the Government, together with key public and private sector bodies, to unite behind a long-term ambition for growth that would see Britain welcome 40 million overseas visitors by 2020, spending £31.5 billion and supporting an additional 200,000 jobs across the country.

Tourism is an industry that already employs 2.6 million people a year – supporting one in twelve jobs in the UK. In the past two years a third of all new jobs created were in tourism(1). And tourism offers jobs across all skills levels and age ranges, particularly offering opportunities for young people – 40% of those employed in tourism are under 40.

International tourism is already an industry at which Britain competes well. Last year Britain welcomed 31 million international visitors who spent £18.6 billion – a record amount. The aim of this partnership strategy is to deliver a further 29% growth in visits by 2020, that increase would deliver an additional £8.7 billion in foreign exchange earnings (real terms).

The growth strategy is built around four key objectives:

  • building on Britain’s improved international image
  • increasing engagement with the travel trade
  • broadening the product range on offer for inbound tourists
  • making it easier to get to Britain.

VisitBritain’s GREAT activity for 2013/14 will seek to maintain the awareness and image boost created by London 2012. The campaign will target strongly performing growth markets, Brazil, China, India and the Gulf along with established markets USA, France and Germany.

Over the last two years, VisitBritain’s marketing programme has directly contributed £900 million to the UK tourism industry, a return on investment of 18 to 1. VisitBritain has so far secured £24 million in match-funding from the private sector, doubling the Government investment.

And today VisitBritain is announcing a £2 million, two-year partnership with Emirates 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 and offer regional gateways across Britain.

The GCC region now signifies great potential for inbound visits to Britain. By 2016 we forecast that 700,000 visitors will be welcomed representing a 32% increase. As part of the growth strategy the organisation announces its new regional hub in Dubai which will enable it to reach across the GCC including Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Jeddah, Kuwait City and Qatar.

VisitBritain – which is already at the forefront of partnership working – will look at creative ways in which existing resources, platforms and promotional material can be used by other organisations. This is expected to include private sector partners and public diplomacy teams in source markets such as Mexico and South Korea.

Reflecting the responses from the consultation, the Strategy reiterates the importance of business tourism and the power of major events to increase visitor numbers, VisitBritain will build on the work already being carried out in this area – particularly in supporting major event bids, and using its overseas network to provide key insights and trade engagement.

Maria Miller MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport said: “Tourism is central to the Government’s economic growth strategy. It’s worth £115 billion to our economy a year and we need to ensure we retain a competitive edge and can compete with other destinations around the world. With the GREAT campaign we are selling the best of Britain, building on strengths to boost tourism income right across the country.”

Chairman of VisitBritain, Christopher Rodrigues added: “There are few British industries as strong as travel and tourism, and few have such growth potential. The success of our travel industry not only helps the economy, but is key to Britain’s image and its trading power around the world. There is no better time for us to capitalise on the increased interest there is in coming here and deliver a Golden Legacy for Britain.”

President of Emirates airline, Tim Clark, commented on the partnership: “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. Tourism Alliance

2. The 21 market plans published will include:

o Americas: Brazil, Canada, USA.

o Europe: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

o APMEA: Australia, China, India, Japan, UAE.

  • 3. ‘Rest of world’ – Countries outside Europe and North America (Africa, Asia, Central America, Middle East, Oceania, South America).

4. Additional tourism facts:

  • Tourism is a major part of the UK economy. It contributes £115 billion to UK GDP, and provides employment for 2.6 million people – around 9% on both measures.
  • The UK enjoyed a record level of spend in 2012 – £18.6 billion was injected into the economy from overseas visitors.
  • Every £40,000 spent by overseas visitors to Britain can create a new job.
  • One in twelve jobs in the UK is currently either directly or indirectly supported by tourism. 44% of people employed in tourism are under 30, compared with an average for the wider economy of 24%. One third of new jobs created between 2009 and 2011 were in tourism.
  • The World Economic Forum now considers Britain to be the 5th most competitive visitor economy in the world, up from 7th in 2011.

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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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