VisitBritain’s ‘Showcase Britain 2024’ to host international travel trade educational visits

VisitBritain, the UK tourism agency, is set to host over 120 international travel buyers for educational visits across Britain as part of its flagship event, ‘Showcase Britain 2024.’

The three-to-five-day itineraries, starting from January 27, will span destinations in England, Wales, and Scotland, providing international buyers with firsthand experiences of the latest tourism products and offerings.

Buyers from 18 international markets, including the USA, Australia, China, France, Germany, India, and others, will participate in the educational visits. The initiative aims to showcase the diverse experiences available for visitors across Britain, encouraging the creation of unique travel itineraries and driving bookings.

VisitBritain CEO Patricia Yates said: ‘We are delighted to be showcasing Britain’s outstanding destinations, tourism products and experiences to international buyers, highlighting the very best of our nations and regions to broaden travel itineraries and drive bookings. From the beauty of our coast and countryside, the vibrancy of our cities and cultural attractions to our world-class dining and accommodation, buyers will experience first-hand the quality of our tourism offer alongside the warmest of British welcomes.

‘I know that the international buyers will return home in no doubt about the outstanding quality of tourism products and experiences available right across Britain.’

The ‘Showcase Britain’ trade mission kicks off with a networking event on January 25 at The Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, London. International buyers and media will be welcomed by VisitBritain Chairman Nick de Bois CBE and CEO Patricia Yates, providing updates on the latest tourism products, experiences, and accommodations.

VisitBritain’s 2024 international campaigns, including its ‘GREAT Britain’ marketing efforts, will be highlighted during the educational visits. The campaigns aim to inspire visitors to ‘See Things Differently’ by showcasing fresh and exciting experiences alongside a warm British welcome. The buyers will also participate in the ‘Britain & Ireland Marketplace’ (BIM) trade event on January 26 before embarking on their educational tours.

VisitBritain’s forecast for 2024 predicts 39.5 million visits to the UK, a five percent increase from 2023, with anticipated spending reaching £34.1bn, a seven percent increase from the previous year and a 20 percent increase from 2019 levels.

Britons to spend £20bn on staycations this summer

This summer, Britons are spending GBP20bn on their staycation holidays, despite the economic lull and ‘cost of living crisis’.

According to a recent travel study by Travelodge, the majority of Britons are unwilling to sacrifice their summer getaways and are looking at staycations to make their holidays cost-effective. Collectively, Britons are projected to spend GBP20 billion on domestic holidays.

According to the report, 63% of Britons have booked a summer holiday this year, marking a 50 percent increase compared to the previous year’s figure of 42%. Remarkably, 72% of these vacationers have chosen to explore the wonders of Great Britain, opting for staycations on British shores. The top destinations for British holidaymakers this summer include Cornwall, Devon, the Isle of Wight, Whitby, and Blackpool.

Shakila Ahmed, Travelodge Spokesperson, said: ‘Our latest research shows that Britons are prioritising and taking a well-deserved staycation this summer, despite the rising cost of living; as a break has become one of life’s necessities. Interestingly in these challenging times, our bookings data shows Britons are getting creative and resourceful with their budget and holiday planning. New travel trends we are seeing include Britons splitting their holidays into lots of shorter breaks and also planning multi-location holidays. This enables them to combine two different experiences within one holiday and obtain a better return on their money and time. Just a weekend break can make a huge difference to your wellbeing. With a network of over 580 hotels across the length and breadth of the UK, holidaymakers are using Travelodge hotels as their summer base to explore and experience what makes Great Britain so Great this summer.’

The report reveals that 24% of Britons have divided their traditional two-week holiday into multiple breaks throughout the year, taking two staycations during the summer months. Interestingly, Britons are extending their holiday duration from an average of three days to five days, and their average spending on British summer holidays has nearly doubled compared to 2022. This year, the average amount spent by staycationers is estimated to be GBP1011.30, in contrast to the previous year’s average of GBP513.13.

A significant number of savvy Britons (41%) are opting for the holiday hotspots across Britain by creating bespoke two-centre holiday packages. By staying at two different locations within a single holiday, they can enjoy diverse experiences, such as combining a coastal or seaside holiday with a rural escape or a city break.

The report also highlights the British love for the seaside, with 43% of Britons choosing coastal destinations for their summer holidays this year. Cornwall tops the chart with over 250 miles of coastline and 300 beaches to explore. Rural breaks in the British countryside, such as the Lake District, North Wales and Scottish Highlands, are the second most popular type of summer holiday, chosen by a quarter (25%) of Britons. One-fifth (20%) of Britons are opting for UK city breaks this summer, with London, Edinburgh, and Cardiff ranking as the top city destinations.

The findings are part of the 2023 Travelodge Travel Index, which surveyed 2,000 British adults to assess their holiday plans for the summer. Key findings from the report indicate that 25% of Britons consider a summer holiday as one of the few non-negotiable expenses in their lives.

UK holidaymakers opt for staycations and pub visits this summer

With costs rising on foreign holidays and high temperatures this summer, Brits are looking to holiday closer to home and enjoy the Great British Pub as part of their staycation this summer.

As almost 50% of international tourists choose to visit a pub on their trips to the UK, pubs are showcasing their international draw to UK holidaymakers with diverse food menus, newly renovated accommodation and great British hospitality. The call from pubs comes as data shows that the average cost of a family holiday abroad has rocketed over the past few months, with everything from car hire to accommodation rising in price.

Even before the pandemic struck, pubs across the UK were a hugely popular destination of choice for UK holiday makers. In 2019 Brits took 1.7bn day visits, 50 million of which were to a pub, generating £2billion for the economy each year.

Kevin Georgel, Chief Executive of St Austell Brewery, which owns over 170 pubs across the Westcountry, said: ‘People can see the pub as a place for a pint and nothing else, but that couldn’t be further from reality. We’re really proud to serve our beers in our pubs, but we’re also proud to offer menus teeming with locally sourced ingredients and classic Westcountry fare, in stunning locations that need to be seen to be believed.

‘Over the past two years, we’ve really invested in our accommodation for overnight guests too. If people are travelling a few hours, by car or train, we want to make it easy and enjoyable for them to make the most of their staycation and give them a memorable experience. There are so many elements which make Great British Pubs the perfect boltholes for relaxing and exploring new areas across the UK.’

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association said: ‘We’re all feeling the pinch at the moment with rising costs all around us, but us Brits don’t need to spend money on travelling far, because we are lucky to have a world-renowned cultural institution on our doorstep.

‘We’re encouraging people to get out and explore the UK, and head for pubs not only for a pint but to eat and stay as well. And if you need some inspiration on where to go stayinapub.co.uk showcases pubs with accommodation in beauty spots across the country, from the highlands to the Cornish coast.’

Ireland bans flights from Britain amid new COVID strain

Following the identification of a new strain of COVID-19 in England, the Irish Government has banned all arriving passenger flights from Britain, Dublin Airport said in a release.

The ban is in place until 23.59 on Thursday, December 31, 2020. The ban applies to all passenger flights with the exception of repatriation flights. The ban does not apply to cargo flights.

Passengers affected by this ban should contact their airline in relation to their specific flight. The ban will be reviewed by the Irish Government before Friday, January 1, 2021, the Airport said.

Separately, Dublin Airport has said that it has launched a handy new feature that enables customers to receive flight updates direct on their mobile device via Twitter, Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.

The new feature will keep customers updated on the status of either a departing or an arriving flight. Customers will receive status updates directly on the phone, with information such as gate number, boarding times, and delays for departing flights. For arriving flights, customers will get information such as when the flight is on approach, and which baggage belt luggage will be delivered on.

The website also now has a chatbot feature, which will answer many of the frequently asked questions (FAQ) that customers might have. The chatbot window pops up automatically when the Dublin Airport website is accessed. Customers may simply type in the question, or browse the different categories to find an answer to the query. Customers can also subscribe to flight alerts through the chatbot feature, the Airport said.

VisitEngland’s ‘Blue Monday’ campaign promotes 24-hour travel experiences in UK

VisitEngland, the official tourist board for England, has launched a digital campaign – Blue Monday – to promote round-the-clock activities and experiences across the UK, encouraging Brits to take a holiday at home.

Presenting activities across the UK throughout a 24-hour period, the ’24 Hours in the UK’ series of films is launched by VisitEngland and the tourism organisations of London, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The campaign comes as statistics show that more people are preferring, and also spending, more on staycations. From January to September 2017, Brits took 47 million domestic holidays in Great Britain, spending £11 billion, an increase of five percent and six percent respectively on the first nine months of the previous year, VisitEngland said.

VisitEngland Director Andrew Stokes said: ‘From a street art tour in Bristol to early morning surfing at Scarborough in Yorkshire, from a torch-lit tour of the Roman Baths to exploring the wilds of Hampstead Heath in London, this campaign shows that England is bursting with activity not only round-the-clock but year-round, with experiences to suit all interests and ages.

‘With many of us looking for travel inspiration to beat the winter blues, these snapshots of destinations across the country will get Brits booking mood-boosting experiences, and exploring more of the country, boosting growth from tourism.’

A selection of the experiences featured in the films include cocktails at Cahoots in London, with 1940s inspired music, featured in the 01.00am film; an early morning surf in Scarborough, featured in the 07.00am film; sea kayaking in Dartmouth in Devon, featured in the 11.00am film; Changing of the Guard at Horse Guards Parade in London, featured in the 11.00am film; lunch and cocktails at the Rooftop Restaurant at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, featured in the 12.00pm film; the Via Ferrata Extreme Experience in the Lake District, Cumbria, featured in the 13.00pm film; a Mad Hatter inspired afternoon tea at Sanderson in London, featured in the 15.00pm film; shopping at Seven Dials near London’s Covent Garden, featured in the 17.00pm film; dinner at Pop Brixton in London, featured in the 21.00pm film; and watching a play in the outdoor Minack Theatre in Cornwall, featured in the 22.00pm film.

Part of VisitEngland’s 2018 campaign ‘Join the World – Discover the UK’, the 24 short films by UK and international Instagrammers and bloggers are released hourly throughout the day. Besides inspiring Brits to take a holiday at home, the campaign also asks holidaymakers to vote for their favourite moment from the trips, with the top five to be announced in the next few weeks.

More than half of Britons choose staycationing this summer

More than 55 per cent of British adults will be holidaying in Great Britain in summer this year, according to Travelodge’s annual holiday index.

The Travelodge research, which surveyed 3,000 British adults, reveals that 2017 will be another strong year for staycations. However, the figures reflected a drop of three percentage points in the number of Britons holidaying at home this year (55 per cent), compared to 58 per cent last year.

Over half (55 per cent) of Britons surveyed reported that they choose to holiday at home this year as it is too expensive to go abroad and a staycation offers better value for money. The most sought after staycation destinations are Cornwall, Devon, North Wales, Blackpool and the Isle of Wight.

Over a third (36 per cent) of adults said that they were looking to holiday at home this year as part of supporting the British economy following Brexit.

According to the research, British holidaymakers will be spending an average of £599.80 on their annual break this year – contributing nearly £17bn to the UK economy. The average spend of £599.80 is £130 less when compared to the £729.80 in 2016, though it equates to a collective spend of £17bn, Travelodge said.

The study also revealed that nearly half of Britons are taking a one-week holiday supported by three short breaks throughout the 2017. Only 17 per cent of adults are taking a ‘traditional’ two-week holiday.

The seaside remains the favourite destination for Britons, with 53 per cent of adults choosing the British seaside for their annual break. A relaxing rural break is what a third of Britons surveyed opt for and the top destinations for this year include the Lake District, Scottish Highlands, Norfolk Broads, Yorkshire Dales and Peak District. Meanwhile 27 per cent of adults are looking at a city break this summer with London, Edinburgh, Bath, York and Oxford being their top destinations.

The research revealed that the UK’s top staycationers are from the Welsh town of Aberystwyth with 85 per cent of its people choosing a staycation break this year, and the average household spending £456.75. Gloucester, Sheffield, Plymouth and Worcester are other location where the most number of people choose a staycation.

London named most desirable city for holidaying in UK

UK holidaymakers are increasingly discovering the pleasures of staycationing as Brits have named London as the most desirable city to visit within the UK, according to research by international hotel group Jurys Inn.

As per research conducted on 2,500 people, Brits are increasingly opting to holiday in their homeland instead of overseas, with over one in 10 (12 percent) taking up to four staycations a year.

The Jurys Inn study revealed the top 10 most desirable UK cities. While cosmopolitan city London topped the list at 35 percent, the Scottish capital of Edinburgh and popular seaside destination Brighton came second and third at 28 percent and 16 per cent respectively:

The other cities to feature in the list, in order, are Liverpool (13 %), Manchester (12 %), Cardiff (11 %), Glasgow (11%), Plymouth (10%), Bristol (8%) and Newcastle (8%).

The research also revealed the cities where people are most likely to stay in the country. Middlesbrough topped the poll with 54% opting for a staycation, closely followed by those in Birmingham (51%) and Milton Keynes (45%).

Suzanne Cannon, head of Marketing at Jurys Inn, said: ‘Our research has revealed some really encouraging stats. It’s great to see the optimism in Brits choosing to spend more holidays at home.

However, some people are clearly still feeling the post-recession pinch and are choosing not to holiday at all. That’s why our affordable packages are the perfect break away. From a two night city break in Edinburgh to dinner and a show in Brighton, there’s something for everyone with Jurys Inn and our staff are always on hand to help out with what to do and see.’

 

While Brits are more valuing the beauty of the country, they still average one holiday abroad a year with two in five (40%) choosing Europe as their top holiday destination. This was followed by North America (4%), Asia (4%), Africa (1%) and Australia (1%).

Also, even as a majority of Brits love to get away, the report revealed that one in 10 Brits do not go on any kind of holiday. The reasons cited for giving up holiday travel include saving for fear of their job security (30%), money for their family (22%) or a house (21%).

When it comes spending their hard earned cash on eating out, 24-34 year olds that eat out more than any other age group, averaging four times a month compared to just twice for the over 55 year olds, who supposedly have more disposable cash.

VisitBritain and Turkish Airlines partner to attract visitors to Britain

UK tourism board VisitBritain and Turkish Airlines have announced a new global partnership to attract more international visitors to Britain, with a focus across the airline’s five regional airports in the UK including Birmingham.

As part of the partnership, VisitBritain and Turkish Airlines will launch an international marketing campaign over the next 12 months, which will initially focus on Indian, Saudi Arabian and other Gulf markets. Showing aspects that make Britain a much sought-for destination, the campaign is aimed at inspiring global tourists ad travellers to explore all the nations and regions of Britain through the airline’s current gateways.

VisitBritain Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said: ‘We are very pleased to be the first national tourist body to develop a global partnership marketing campaign with Turkish Airlines. There are significant growth opportunities in the markets served by Turkish Airlines, including the emerging market of Saudi Arabia, using the airline’s global connectivity and rapidly expanding network. This partnership will also allow us to target our marketing to inspire more international visitors to come and explore all the nations and regions of Britain, so we can continue to create jobs and deliver our ambitious plans for growth.’

Turkish Airlines Chief Marketing Officer Mr Ahmet Olmustur said: ‘This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for Turkish Airlines and we are delighted to be teaming up with such an acknowledged and reputable brand as VisitBritain. The travel market in the UK continues to go from strength-to-strength and therefore we strongly believe this partnership will further enhance visitor numbers in the UK in the coming year. Turkish Airlines is always investing in the UK and, along with partnerships such as this, we hope to see big inroads being made in terms of visitor numbers.’

It is the first time that Turkish Airlines is partnering with a national tourist board for a tourism promotion campaign. Turkish Airlines is set to move to its new hub at Istanbul New Airport in 2018 with nearly 20 million passengers a year expected to be flying through the new airport by 2020. Turkish Airlines was recently chosen as the Best Airline in Europe for the fifth year running by the Skytrax Passenger survey.

 

Jurys Inn to promote Britain’s tourist and city attractions

UK hotel group Jurys Inn Hotels is set to promote Great Britain’s tourist and city attractions to British tourists and travellers, in a bid to further inspire them to explore landmarks in their home country.

The hotel group, which runs 22 hotels located in the heart of UK city centres, is set to launch ‘Jurys Inn -The Verdict,’ a campaign that will celebrate everything ‘Great’ about Great Britain. The campaign plan was announced after a study by Jurys Inn Hotels found that Brits were increasingly overlooking sights and landmarks near them. Nearly one fifth (22 per cent) of those surveyed claimed to have visited more landmarks abroad than in their home country.

Commenting on the survey findings, Suzanne Cannon, Group Marketing Manager at Jurys Inn, said: ‘Our study has unveiled that Brits seem to be falling out of love with Blighty. Instead of wanting to explore more of their local cities and home country, they are being influenced by what they see on TV and in films, to escape abroad.

‘The ‘staycation’ may not appeal to everyone, but with a lack of UK knowledge in the first instance, Brits are not necessarily aware of the amazing attractions they could be exploring. We were surprised at stats such as almost a quarter (23 per cent) of those polled being unable to name iconic locations including Angel of the North, so we’re making it our mission to help the nation fall back in love with Britain with ‘Jurys Inn – The Verdict’- a campaign that puts the nation to the test and celebrates everything ‘Great’ about Great Britain.

‘Launching in April, ‘The Verdict’ will include a series of pub quiz challenges to find and celebrate the most knowledgeable Brit, who knows Britain inside out.’

According to the study, over three quarter of Britons failed to locate well-known cities such as Sheffield (85 per cent), Birmingham (83 per cent) and Liverpool (76 per cent) on a map. The study also revealed over a third (36 per cent) of Brits did not know where Stonehenge was. When shown pictures of iconic landmarks, over a third (39 per cent) of Scots didn’t recognise the iconic St Andrews Golf Course, and a quarter (25 per cent) of Londoners were unable to name the Gherkin.

The hotel staff know the cities well and will be able to advise on the best spots enabling Brits to explore sites, landmarks and attractions in their home country and fall in love with Blighty again, Jurys Inn said.

 

VisitBritain announces three-year ‘Countryside is GREAT’ campaign

Britain’s official tourist agency, VisitBritain, has launched a new three-year ‘Countryside is GREAT’ campaign designed to draw and grow international visits and spend across the country.

The ‘Countryside is GREAT’ campaign will position Britain’s countryside as a place to enjoy modern culture, top quality food and world-class accommodation in a beautiful landscape. Currently ranked 20th among the top 50 countries for being ‘rich in natural beauty’ in the 2014 Anholt-Gfk Nation Brand Index, Britain’s ‘natural beauty’ has been overlooked compared to other international destinations and consistently positioned behind America, Australia and Canada.

However, VisitBritain research shows that a significant number of visitors already enjoy the British countryside. In 2013 a significant proportion of visitors from New Zealand (43%), Australia (41%), Canada (33%), China (32%), UAE (29%) and Germany (27%) all explored Britain’s countryside and villages. The campaign aims to build on this interest and show potential visitors places to visit for great holiday experiences and ways to get there.

Sally Balcombe, chief executive of VisitBritain, said: ‘We want to encourage our international visitors to experience more of Britain. Enjoying the beautiful landscape is one of the key drivers for holiday choice for international visitors second only to offering good value for money. Britain has stunning national parks and world heritage sites to rival our competitors but they are currently being overlooked by many of our overseas visitors.

‘Our launch to the British industry is a chance to show how local tourism businesses can get involved with the campaign and help us boost local economies and their own profitability.’

The first year of ‘Countryside is GREAT’ will focus on visitors from the USA and Germany. The regions featuring in the first year of the campaign are the Scottish Highlands, Peak District, Cotswolds, Cornwall, Pembrokeshire, North Wales, Warwickshire, Lake District and Yorkshire.

VisitBritain expects the campaign to generate extra visitor spend of GBP70m, and should see the creation of 1,296 new jobs by 2018.