Another GREAT year for tourism in 2014 as Government makes £90m pledge

VisitBritain's GREAT campaign promotes Britain internationally as a place to visit and do business

Less than a month after a VisitBritain report revealed that tourism has become a ‘bedrock’ of the UK economy, the national tourism agency is now confidently forecasting another record-breaking year after receiving another major funding boost from the Government.

A further £90m is being ploughed into VisitBritain’s GREAT campaign over the next two years. As a result, the organisation is forecasting a 2 per cent rise in overseas visitor numbers which would mean a record-breaking visitor spend of around £21.5bn.

“Government investment in the millions will bring tourism returns in the billions,” said VisitBritain’s chief executive Sandie Dawe. “This year is set to be a record – it just goes to show what can be achieved with a clear strategy and cooperation across all the major Government agencies promoting Britain overseas.”

The agency also predicts that the volume of visits will return to pre-global financial crisis record levels of 2008, with 32.6 million arrivals in 2014.

It follows a 2013 that is on course to attain the highest recorded spend by international visitors. Latest figures show that in the first ten months of the year the number of visits from overseas was 6 per cent up on the same period of 2012, while visitor spending was up by 12 per cent.

Much of this increase can be put down to the GREAT image campaign, which VisitBritain says ‘has delivered on the international stage and potentially generated an extra £200m of inbound visitor spend’.

Britain is GREAT

The GREAT campaign was launched by the Government in September 2011 to capitalise on the Diamond Jubilee and Britain hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012. It promotes Britain internationally as a place to visit and do business and has featured British stars from the worlds of sport, entertainment and the creative industries.

Tourism Minister Helen Grant, who earlier this week heaped praise on VisitEngland’s ‘Growing Tourism Locally’ campaign, said: “Millions of people flock to British shores every year and our tourist attractions are world class.

“Tourism is a key plank of our economy, helping to drive growth and promoting Britain on the world stage.

“After a record 2013, we want to do even better in 2014 and that’s why we are committing an additional £90 million to our fantastic GREAT campaign - to showcase the very best of Britain in key international markets, encouraging visitors to come and experience it for themselves.”

2014 tourism forecast

Half (£45m) of the government’s new funding for the GREAT campaign will be allocated in 2014/15 and the other £45m in 2015/16.

In its 2014 forecast VisitBritain expects to see continued strong growth from emerging markets, particularly Malaysia, South Korea, China and Mexico.

Few major changes in Britain’s transport infrastructure are expected in 2014 but capacity at some airports, including Heathrow, will continue to grow as more airlines take delivery of larger Airbus A380 aircraft.

New flight routes from Chengdu, Beijing, Manila and Jakarta – plus the recently announced improvements to the Chinese and Gulf visa processes – are expected to deliver a step change in Britain’s accessibility and result in a swift uplift of those visitors choosing Britain as a holiday destination.

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