Attractions industry news

01 Mar 2018

London, Manchester and Birmingham team up to launch international tourism drive

Three of the UK’s three most populated cities – London, Birmingham and Manchester – have formed an alliance to jointly promote tourism in China, India and the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council).

Headed by London mayor Sadiq Khan's London & Partners, the scheme will be financed by a £1.2m grant awarded by the £40m Discover England Fund, which was set up by the government to build ‘world-class’ tourism products and experiences that cater to the needs of international visitors.

According to research from London & Partners, less than a third of visitors staying overnight in the capital will go on to stay overnight elsewhere in the country. The research also states that levels of visitor satisfaction increase significantly when people do visit other destinations on top of a London trip.

The “Experience England” partnership will see the three cities collaborate on tourism for the first time, with the plan focused on increasing the number of visitors arriving in one city and then travelling across to experience the different regions.

For the three target regions, an English tourism experience will be created, making it easier for visitors to travel to these cities and their surrounding areas.

“London is home to the 10 most popular tourist attractions in the UK and we’re proud to welcome millions of visitors every year,” said Khan.

“But it’s important that they have the chance to see what’s on offer in other parts of the country too and I’m committed to working with other cities and regions to use the capital’s reputation to drive tourism across the nation.”

Tourism and hospitality is vital to the British economy, with tourism to London making up 11.6 per cent of the capital’s GDP, and the rest of the UK at an average of 9 per cent.

In 2016, almost 1.5 million visitors arrived in the UK from China, India and the GCC, which include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, according to VisitBritain. The campaign is targeting these regions because they are among the fastest-growing tourism markets in the world.

“Successful projects will boost international and domestic visitor growth creating a step-change in the industry and spreading the economic benefits of tourism across England,” said Sally Balcombe, CEO at VisitBritain and VisitEngland. “It’s great to see the innovative way this project is getting visitors exploring the country and twin-centre holidays will make more of England accessible.”

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