Britain’s 2012 ‘Golden Year’ Sets High Standard for Inbound Visitor Targets
Top British Tourism Executive Tours Gulf Markets to Bolster UK Visitor Numbers and Promote VisitBritain’s New APME Regional Hub in Dubai; UAE Visitors to UK May Hit Half Million by 2020
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Following one of Britain’s most celebrated years in recent memory, in which London hosted the summer Olympic games and Diamond Jubilee, its top tourism executive is touring key markets in the Gulf to strengthen future UK visitor numbers from the region, according to VisitBritain’s newly-opened APME regional hub office.
Britain is a major beneficiary of outbound travel from the Gulf region with residents spending £881 million (AED 5.2 billion) in Britain during 2011, which is around 5 per cent of all spending. The UK received 459,000 visits from the GCC region in 2011, a 19.8% increase on 2010.
VisitBritain also reports that by 2020 there is potential for the annual number of visits to Britain from the UAE to be 40 per cent up on the record year of 2009, which welcomed 344,400 visitors. The latest statistics show that UAE visits are up 9 per cent.
In recent years, specifically 2006 through 2011, Saudi, Qatar, and UAE are three markets that have shown an outstanding increase in visitor numbers at 60 per cent, 59 per cent and 36 per cent respectively, with Qatar and Kuwait topping the spend per night list, outshining all other countries.
Traveling alongside UK Minister of Sport and Tourism, Hugh Robertson, VisitBritain Chief Executive Officer Sandie Dawe’s visit to the Gulf included stops in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, all of which are key markets for British tourism. At each stop, she met public diplomacy, trade, and media partners while also exploring partnerships with Middle East aviation heavyweights to discuss partnership opportunities. While in the UAE, she will officially open the new APME hub office in Dubai.
“This past year’s iconic events placed Britain in the spotlight like never before, as we showed the world just how GREAT we can be in so many different areas, from sport and culture to food and music,” said Dawe, a 22-year veteran of VisitBritain. “We look forward to making 2013 an even more memorable year, to include greeting nearly one million additional international visitors to Britain.”
Prior to her visit to the UAE, Dawe attended the Doha GOALS conference and participated in several high-level meetings on 11 December with Robertson.
The UK already welcomed 31 million visitors from across the world who spent £18 billion (AED 106.2 billion) last year, making the industry the third-largest earner of foreign exchange. Tourism, a major part of the UK economy, contributes £115 billion (nearly AED 679 billion) to UK GDP, and provides employment for 2.6 million people – around 9 per cent on both measures.
· VisitBritain is Britain's national tourism agency, responsible for marketing Britain worldwide and developing Britain’s visitor economy. A non-departmental public body, funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, we work in partnership with thousands of organisations in the UK and overseas ― the Government, the industry and our strategic partners in London, England, Scotland and Wales ― and seek to ensure that Britain is marketed appropriately around the world.
· Our priority is to deliver a four-year match funded global marketing programme, working with the private sector, which takes advantage of the unique opportunity of the Royal Wedding, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the 2012 Games to showcase Britain and attract new visitors from the tourism growth markets of Asia and Latin America and to reinvigorate our appeal in core markets such as the USA, France and Germany. This campaign aims to attract four million extra visitors to Britain, who will spend an additional £2 billion over the four years.
· We also provide analysis and advice on the issues facing potential visitors, on Britain’s competitive position and the barriers to inbound tourism growth. This is in addition to providing research; market intelligence and analysis to inform the British tourism industry.
VisitBritainShop.com – buy before you fly
· The official shop of the British national tourist authority, VisitBritainShop.com has over 150 products on Britain including travel and transport, sightseeing tours and attraction tickets. A one-stop-shop enabling the planning and purchase of products before arrival, VisitBritainShop.com ensures customers spend their time in Britain enjoying it and not waiting in a queue.
· The VisitBritain shops are made up of 13 local-market websites giving customers the convenience of purchasing in their own currency and language. And with products and discounts exclusive to the international visitor and customer service support in 7 languages, planning a trip to Britain has never been easier.