Tourism

“Australia remains a billion-pound market for Britain”, says VisitBritain CEO

Teresa Russell

In VisitBritain’s recently-released research on inbound tourism for 2018, Australia remains 10th largest in terms of visitor arrivals, a position it has held since 2012, but has dropped one spot to fifth in terms of value.

However, VisitBritain CEO Sally Balcombe has reiterated that Australia remains an extremely important market for UK tourism.

“Australia remains a billion-pound market for Britain,” she told Travel Weekly.

“In a strongly-contested field, the Spanish market pulled slightly ahead of Australia for spending in 2018. Nonetheless, Australia continues to deliver five per cent of global visitor spend for the UK and has generated more than £1 billion annually since 2011.”

“We continue to invest in the VisitBritain team in Australia and our partnerships in the market remain as vital as ever.

“In 2019, campaigns with Flight Centre, Helloworld and the airlines will amplify our marketing reach and convert the aspiration to visit the UK into actual bookings, showing how accessible our nations and regions are, and telling the stories of destinations.”

In its 50th anniversary year of promoting Britain to the world, the original heritage and landscape marketing focus in 1969 has evolved to include global sporting events like the current ICC Cricket World Cup in England and Wales; big screen and TV and film set tours for blockbusters such as Game of Thrones through Northern Ireland or the Warner Bros Studio tour – the making of Harry Potter in Watford; a single malt whiskey trail through Scotland; adventure activities in Snowdonia; and individual county and country destinations.

England is in its final year of its three-year, £40 million Discover England Fund, providing grants to 66 projects, resulting in 1,000 new tourism products and another thousand products reimagined.

These aim to extend the holidays of the more than 50 per cent of visitors to England who visit London only and represent a huge investment across England in creating interesting, niche and broad-based tourism products to welcome and inspire more visitors.

VisitScotland describes Dundee as a city to watch, with the new Victoria and Albert Dundee Museum of Design, located on the waterfront in an impressive building designed by Kengo Kuma, opening nine months ago.

It also proudly announced the declaration of Britain’s first Dark Sky Park for star gazing, the Storybook Trail for lovers of children’s books from Peter Pan to Harry Potter, and the Caledonian Sleeper train from Scotland to London overnight with double beds and many improved features.

Three new whiskey distilleries have just opened, including the £100 million Macallan Distillery in Speyside in the country’s northeast. Scotland’s whiskey manufacturers now also produce 70 per cent of Britain’s booming gin market.

Tourism Northern Ireland continues to benefit from the 26 locations where Game of Thrones fans flock, while Belfast is home to Titanic Belfast – a global tourist attraction devoted to the building and ill-fated maiden voyage of the Titanic.

By 2020, 10,000 hotel rooms will be available in Northern Ireland, with an extra 1,000 already added in 2018.

This year is VisitWales’ ‘Year of Discovery’, featuring three special tourist routes: The North Wales Way, from Holyhead to Broughton; The Cambrian Way, from Llandudno in the north to Cardiff in the south; and The Coastal Way, from Aberdaron to St David’s, down Wales’ west coast.

Travel Weekly visited North Wales in May, and the area has been reinvigorated by adventure tourism supported by excellent infrastructure and the Snowdonia area’s natural beauty.

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