Destinations

VisitBritain CEO’s message to Aussie agents

Teresa Russell

VisitBritain CEO Sally Balcombe has attempted to quell the fear of any Australian agents around the impact of Brexit on inbound tourism, insisting it was business as usual.

Speaking to Travel Weekly, Balcombe said if there is uncertainty about travel from Europe, VisitBritain will likely redouble its efforts to get Australians to visit.

“If the pound drops further, it will create more value for money for Australians,” she said.

“‘Nothing’s going to change’ is the message for all Australian travel agents.”

Balcombe described Australia as “an incredibly important market” for Britain’s inbound tourism, as it is the 10th largest in volume, and fourth largest in value terms.

Australia is considered one of the seven “great” inbound tourist markets by VisitBritain, according to its ‘Find your Great Britain’ marketing campaign.

Balcombe said people are still coming to Britain to see the iconic destinations like the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace, but the recent focus has been to develop more immersive, new products right across Great Britain.

“We obviously want to have people come to see the whole of Britain, and we want Australians – who are all great explorers – to explore parts of the country that other nationalities don’t get to,” she said.

“You’ll find Aussies all over the UK. Stay longer, explore more, see more. We’ve got some surprises.”

One of the recent new products developed through the Discover England Fund was targeted directly at Aussies.

These trade-bookable experiences in England’s national parks include spending days with rangers, or being a Roman on Hadrian’s Wall, or cooking in the oldest oven in the world in the Peak District National Park or taking a vintage bicycle ride.

This week, ExploreGB2019 delegates were introduced to Travel Exchange Great Britain (TXGB), a business-to-business platform that links suppliers to aggregators and agents.

TXGB will be launched in June, and Balcombe is enthusiastic about its value to all the small- and medium-size suppliers in particular, as well as agents overseas.

In other welcome news, eGates for Australians and many other non-EU travellers are coming to international terminals in Britain in the next few weeks, meaning no more long queues on arrival.

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