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.

Gardens, zoos among favourites for visitors in England

Gardens and zoos registered the highest growth in visitors to attractions last year, according to a recent survey published by VisitEngland.

The Annual Attractions Survey found that historic houses and castles reported a seven percent increase in visitor numbers, and country parks a four percent increase. Outdoor attractions performed particularly well, with gardens and zoos showing growth of eight percent.

The survey was conducted by BDRC-Continental and gathered information from more than 1,500 English visitor attractions. Similar to VisitEngland’s Great Britain Tourism Survey results, coastal and rural attractions experienced strong growth of four percent and five percent respectively.

Tourism Minister John Glen said: ‘We have an amazing range of world-class attractions in England that draw in millions of visitors every year. Whether it is our unique historic buildings, internationally important museums or stunning gardens, there is a huge amount to see and do.

‘Ensuring that all parts of the country benefit from our tourism industry is a key government priority so it is fantastic to see such growth across the regions.’

VisitEngland Chief Executive Sally Balcombe added, ‘There are so many outstanding attractions offering year-round experiences throughout the country and it’s great to see Brits enjoyed 2016’s ‘Year of the English Garden’. Attractions are a much loved and valuable part of the tourism landscape, adding colour and variety to the visitor experience and encouraging people to get out and explore, driving the value of tourism across the regions.’

The British Museum was the most visited free attraction in England in 2016, for the ninth consecutive year, with nearly 6.5 million visitors. This was followed by the National Gallery which had more than 6.2 million visitors. Among the paid for locations, the Tower of London topped the list for the eight consecutive year, with 2.7 million visitors, and Chester Zoo registered its highest ever ranking – second place, with nearly 1.9 million visitors.

According to the latest VisitEngland figures, for the first four months of 2017, Brits took a record 11.4 million holiday trips in England.

VisitEngland enters rural phase of promotional campaign

VisitEngland, the tourist board that is responsible for promoting tourism in England, has entered the next phase of its current marketing campaign.

The multi-channel campaign, which is intended to boost domestic tourism during the coming year by promoting short breaks, is now concentrating on England’s rural attractions. It is part of VisitEngland’s three-year, ‘Growing Tourism Locally’ project, and follows the previous segment of the campaign, which had the country’s beaches and coastline as its theme.

There will be six interlinked promotions during the campaign, which has been running since January and will come to an end in March. The key themes that are spread across the six segments are countryside, coast, heritage and culture. The message promoted during this ‘rural’ phase will be of England’s wealth of rural diversity. It will showcase the country’s chocolate box villages, historic country towns and the rolling hills and valleys that surround them.

Partnerships with newspapers The Guardian, Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday will form part of the campaign, along with promotions on network radio stations, digital and social media formats including Facebook competitions, video promotions, and promotion on the organisation’s website.

Funding for the ‘Growing Tourism Locally’ promotion, which is costing GBP19.8 million in total, is coming partly from the UK Government’s Regional Growth Fund. In return, it is expected that GBP420 million will be generated in additional domestic tourism between 2012 and 2015, due to a greater number of UK residents taking the lead in booking holidays and short breaks in England. It is also hoped that an additional 9,100 jobs will be created in the local tourism industry by March 2015, as a knock-on effect of the boost to the industry.

VisitEngland chief executive, James Berresford, said, ‘This exciting campaign is one of several launching this year with the aim of growing tourism in England. The campaign aims to inspire UK residents explore our green and pleasant land, and take a short break in one of England’s most beautiful rural destinations.’


VisitEngland Offers Facebook App for UK Vacations

UK residents who are also social media enthusiasts will now be able to download a new Facebook app, ‘101 Things To Do Before You Go Abroad’, promoted by VisitEngland, the official travel promotional agency for England.

The app intends to promote destinations in the UK to British travellers, and offers a range of new experiences for visitors to England. Among the experiences included in the app are star gazing at the International Dark Sky Reserve in Exmoor’s National Park, and climbing Scafell Pike, the highest peak in England.

Following the Jubilee celebrations, and Olympic and Paralympic Games, which took place in the UK last year, recent research conducted by the agency shows that 60 percent of the country’s population are more proud to be British now than ever, while around 20 percent of respondents are planning to take more breaks in England in 2013 as a result of renewed interest in their mother country. The new app is attempting to meet the demand generated from this nationwide intention and will be offering newer travel destinations to attract British holidaymakers to stay in their own country and have a wonderful vacation.

James Berresford, the chief executive officer of VisitEngland, said, ‘Only including 101 Things to do in England before you go abroad will be the challenge! There is so much on offer in England, which is capable of taking our breath away. We hope this app will inspire Britons everywhere to take a holiday in England and remember that this is one of the best, if not the best destinations in the world.’

Famous names front VisitEngland campaign to promote UK tourism

Last night VisitEngland’s highly anticipated “Holidays at Home are Great” advertising campaign graced our screens. 

The £5million campaign features some of Britain’s well known stars including: Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery, Harry Potter stars Rupert Grint and Julie Walters, and icon Stephen Fry. 

The country’s biggest campaign hopes to channel the power of the Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee to inspire Britons to take a holiday at home. 

Brits are encouraged by the four celebrities to explore the UK, and the advert finishes with: “No passports. No jabs. No visas. No Euros. No wonder holidays at home are so great”. 

The Government hope that VisitEngland’s tourism drive will stop British holidaymakers travelling abroad during the year, as research has found that nations which host the Olympics often experience a ‘sag’ in domestic tourism. 

Jeremy Hunt, the secretary of state for culture, media, sport and the Olympics said: “This is the first time we’ve had a national domestic tourism marketing campaign. 

It is completely measurable – we will know how many nights are booked as a result of this campaign”. 

The advert allows holidaymakers to save 20.12 per cent on bookings for accommodation, restaurants, attractions, events and transport via the website: 

He added: “As an industry and as a Government, we will know whether this type of campaign works and what the return on investment is. 

That in itself will provide an important template going forward in terms of upping our game in marketing”. 

VisitEngland’s chief executive James Beresford believes that the new campaign will create 12,500 jobs and generate an extra £80 million in domestic spend. 

However ABTA the Travel Association have criticised the campaign, stating that it favours domestic tourism over the struggling international tourism market. 

Mark Tanzer, CEO of ABTA said: “We are very concerned that the Government is sponsoring a marketing campaign that appears to actively discourage UK holidaymakers from taking a foreign break. I’m sure the public want to make up their own mind about where to go on holiday”.

Article by Charlotte Greenhalgh