VisitBritain, the UK's national tourism agency, has signed a GBP2 million ($3.1 million) partnership deal with Dubai national carrier Emirates Airlines as part of its new tourism strategy to attract an extra 9 million visitors every year.
Under this two-year partnership, Emirates will promote Britain overseas. The deal also includes a combination of marketing in kind and cash payments.
Emirates cover a vast network of routes and destinations across South East Asia, Australia, India and the GCC and offer regional gateways across Britain.
The deal comes close on the heels of a new tourism partnership strategy for Britain launched by its Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, Maria Miller last week.
It calls for the travel industry and the Government, together with key public and private sector bodies, to unite behind a long-term ambition for growth that would see Britain welcome 40 million overseas visitors by 2020, spending £31.5 billion and supporting an additional 200,000 jobs across the country.
The aim of this partnership strategy is to deliver a further 29 per cent growth in visits by 2020, that increase would deliver an additional £8.7 billion in foreign exchange earnings (real terms).
Tourism is an industry that already employs 2.6 million people a year – supporting one in twelve jobs in the UK. In the past two years, a third of all new jobs created were in this sector.
Tourism also offers jobs across all skills levels and age ranges, particularly offering opportunities for young people – 40 per cent of those employed in tourism are under 40.
International tourism is already an industry at which Britain competes well. Last year Britain welcomed 31 million international visitors who spent £18.6 billion - a record amount.
The growth strategy is built around the following four key objectives: Building on Britain’s improved international image; increasing engagement with the travel trade; broadening the product range on offer for inbound tourists and making it easier to get into Britain.
VisitBritain’s GREAT activity for 2013/14 will seek to maintain the awareness and image boost created by London 2012. The campaign will target strongly performing growth markets, Brazil, China, India and the Gulf along with established markets US, France and Germany.
“Tourism is central to the Government’s economic growth strategy. It’s worth £115 billion to our economy a year and we need to ensure we retain a competitive edge and can compete with other destinations around the world. With the GREAT campaign we are selling the best of Britain, building on strengths to boost tourism income right across the country,” remarked Maria Miller.
VisitBritain chairman Christopher Rodrigues pointed out that there were few British industries as strong as travel and tourism, and few have such growth potential.
"The success of our travel industry not only helps the economy, but is key to Britain's image and its trading power around the world. There is no better time for us to capitalise on the increased interest there is in coming here and deliver a Golden Legacy for Britain," he added.
On the tieup, Emirates president Tim Clark said the partnership with VisitBritain underlines its commitment to supporting inbound tourism into the country.
"Emirates injects over £368 million each year into the local economies of the six gateways we operate from and in 2012, we carried almost 1.8 million visitors into the UK, so this partnership is a natural extension of bolstering the convenience of our Dubai hub to seamlessly connect travellers from South East Asia, Australia, India and the Middle East to world-renowned attractions in Britain," he added.
The GCC region now signifies great potential for inbound visits to Britain, said Rodrigues.
"By 2016 we forecast that 700,000 visitors will be welcomed representing a 32 per cent increase. As part of the growth strategy the organisation announces its new regional hub in Dubai which will enable it to reach across the main GCC cities including Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Jeddah, Kuwait City and Doha," he added.
Over the last two years, VisitBritain’s marketing programme has directly contributed £900 million to the UK tourism industry, a return on investment of 18 to 1. VisitBritain has so far secured £24 million in match-funding from the private sector, doubling the Government investment.-TradeArabia News Service