The educational trade visits, underway from 28 January, are a mix of three-to-five-day itineraries to destinations across England, Wales and Scotland, showcasing the latest tourism products to international buyers and that Britain is packed full of fresh and exciting experiences for visitors to come and enjoy right now. Buyers from 16 international markets are taking part in the educational visits including representatives from the UK’s three largest inbound markets the USA, France and Germany, as well as from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Japan, the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries, India, Italy, the Netherlands, the Nordic countries, South Korea and Spain.
VisitBritain CEO Patricia Yates said: “We are delighted to be showcasing Britain to international buyers to drive bookings. From the beauty of our coast and countryside to the exciting variety of our cultural attractions to our world class dining and accommodation, buyers will experience first-hand the warmest of British welcomes and the outstanding and varied tourism products on offer. Working with the international travel trade is crucial to ensuring they are ready to sell Britain, as well as to broadening travel itineraries, encouraging visitors to explore further and stay longer.”
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 before the buyers embark on visits to destinations including Manchester, Liverpool and the Lake District; Bath, Bristol and the Cotswolds; Newcastle and Northumberland; Cambridge; Somerset; the West Midlands; the English Wine Region; Edinburgh; Cardiff and other regions of Scotland and Wales. The hosted visits are part of the national tourism agency’s ‘Showcase Britain’ event, which gets underway with a networking event for the international buyers and travel media at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Thursday 26 January. The buyers will be officially welcomed by VisitBritain Chairman Nick de Bois CBE followed by updates from the agency’s trade teams as well as from London & Partners, VisitScotland and Visit Wales on the latest products, experiences, hospitality and accommodation.
Before heading off on their educational tours, the buyers will also attend the ‘Britain & Ireland Marketplace’ (BIM) on 27 January. There they will have a full day of appointments with tourism suppliers and destinations. The educational visits come as VisitBritain also gears up to host its flagship global trade event ExploreGB Virtual from 27 February to 2 March.
VisitBritain is also set to launch a new GREAT Britain marketing campaign in February to drive bookings, inviting visitors to ‘See Things Differently’, showcasing Britain as a dynamic, exciting and inclusive destination. The campaign is also capturing major events in 2023 including the Coronation of King Charles III in May, with an additional Bank Holiday announced, and Liverpool hosting the Eurovision Song Contest, on behalf of Ukraine, also in May, timely and valuable opportunities to promote Britain’s welcome, creativity and ability to host events of the highest calibre.
VisitBritain’s latest forecast for 2023 estimates 35.1 million inbound visits to the UK, 86% of 2019 levels and 18% higher than levels seen in 2022. Its forecast for overseas visitor spending in the UK this year is £29.5 billion, a projected record high for annual inbound visitor spend.