- Özgür Töre
VisitBritain is set to welcome 50 international travel trade buyers for a series of educational visits across Britain.
The trade visits, underway from Monday 14 March, are a mix of three to five day itineraries to destinations across England, Wales and Scotland, giving international buyers the chance to try first-hand the latest tourism products and experiences. Buyers from the UK's three largest inbound tourism markets, the USA, France and Germany, are attending as well as from Canada, the Netherlands, the Nordics, Italy and Spain.
VisitBritain Deputy CEO Patrica Yates said, "We are delighted to be hosting and reconnecting international travel buyers with local destinations, highlighting the outstanding tourism products on offer, that Britain is packed full of fresh and exciting experiences to come and enjoy now, and that our industry is ready to welcome back visitors and provide a first-class experience.
"Working with the international trade, ensuring they are ready to sell Britain, is crucial to driving back bookings and spending. We also want to broaden travel itineraries, encouraging visitors to stay longer and explore further, and boost visits across the shoulder season, supporting local businesses, destinations and economies."
The visits get underway with an event hosted by VisitBritain at The View from The Shard in central London on Monday 14 March with a welcome from VisitBritain's Deputy CEO Patricia Yates, updates from the agency's trade teams as well as London & Partners, VisitScotland and Visit Wales, on the latest products, experiences, hospitality and accommodation. Buyers will also hear about VisitBritain's £10 million GREAT Britain marketing campaign 'Welcome to Another Side of Britain,' with a spotlight on cities, hit hard by the absence of international visitors and their spending, as well as messages of welcome and reassurance.
There will also be an overview on this year's landmark events including HM The Queen's Platinum Jubilee, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and the ground-breaking 'Unboxed' events across the UK, all timely opportunities to highlight once-in-a-lifetime experiences that visitors can only have here, showcasing the industry's ability to host events of the highest calibre and promoting Britain's hospitality and creativity.
VisitBritain's in-country teams have worked in partnership with destination management organisations and destination management companies across England, Scotland and Wales to develop itineraries tailored to each market. All itineraries include London with 11 buyers from the USA heading to Devon and Cornwall and nine Canadian buyers to the West Midlands, as the region prepares to host the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Six buyers from France will visit Kent and six German buyers will visit The Cotswolds. Four buyers from the Nordics will travel to Northern England and the Scottish Borders, four from the Netherlands will go to Wales and 10 buyers from Italy and Spain will visit Scotland.
Commenting on their upcoming visits, US-based Tenon Tours Product Manager Liz Aungier said, "Britain is a key market for us and our clients are really looking forward to being able to travel to the UK again unrestricted. After a long travel pause it will be great to see and experience new products in the Devon and Cornwall region and indeed some in London as well. I am very excited for this opportunity and look forward to spreading the word to our team on my return."
France-based Telligo UCPA Groups Product Manager Emily Lagnado said, "The long-awaited news has finally arrived: The UK is reopening its borders to tourists, without restrictions. It is with this in mind that we are going on this 3-day educational trip to discover London and Kent. We can't wait to discover, or rediscover, this beautiful destination and these beautiful regions! Even though I already know England, this trip will be an opportunity for me to discover new activities and new cities."
The educational visits come as VisitBritain also gears up to host its flagship global trade event ExploreGB Virtual from 21 to 25 March.
VisitBritain's latest forecast for 2022 estimates 21.1 million inbound visits to the UK, 52% of 2019 levels. Its forecast for overseas visitor spending in the UK this year is £16.9 billion, 59% of the spending in 2019.
Inbound tourism was worth more than £28 billion to the UK economy in 2019, its third largest service export and a major part of British trade.