VisitBritain is gearing up to host its annual flagship travel trade event to sell destination Britain to the world.
Now in its fourth year, ExploreGB is heading north to NewcastleGateshead.
More than 280 international travel buyers from 29 countries will do business with more than 330 tourism suppliers from across the UK at the event, held from Thursday 1 to Friday 2 March at the Metro Radio Arena.
Travel industry buyers and journalists from the UK’s largest and most valuable inbound visitor markets including Australia, France, Germany and the US will attend, as well as from its high-spending markets including China and the Gulf countries.
Tourism Minister Michael Ellis said: “British tourism is thriving and is an increasingly important economic driver across the UK.
“The sector contributes billions of pounds to the economy every year, supports thousands of jobs and benefits the UK’s nations and regions.
“We want to build on this success and ExploreGB gives British businesses the opportunity to expand, increase inward investment and reach new international markets.”
VisitBritain Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said: “We are delighted to bring our flagship trade event ExploreGB to NewcastleGateshead and North East England, a fantastic destination and also a great base for our international buyers to start their tours across the UK.
“Tourism is one of the world’s most globally competitive industries and ExploreGB is an extremely important business tool to help us stay competitive.
“It gives UK travel suppliers and local destinations the chance to get their products in front of hundreds of top global buyers, forge valuable business connections and ultimately inspire more visitors to book a trip.”
Chief Executive of NewcastleGateshead Initiative Sarah Stewart said: “In the year that Rough Guides named Newcastle as its number one place in the world to visit, it is great to be working with VisitBritain to bring its flagship event to NewcastleGateshead.
“Delegates will have the chance to explore the huge variety of experiences our city and the wider region has to offer visitors and discover how these will be amplified during Great Exhibition of the North, and we wish them an enjoyable stay.”
More than 32,000 business meetings will take place across the two-day travel trade event.
Buyers and international journalists will also get to experience tourism products and services first-hand with pre-and-post event trips to destinations across the UK.
As well as doing business, delegates will attend seminars on innovations in tourism from the latest in luxury travel to food and drink products, as well as networking events to boost their knowledge of the UK as a tourist destination.
VisitBritain will also be showcasing its new global marketing campaign ‘I Travel For…’ to boost inbound tourism.
The digital campaign uses short films and images to promote unexpected experiences and less-explored destinations across Britain, alongside its globally renowned and iconic landmarks and attractions.
It aligns motivations to travel with experiences that can only be had here, inspiring overseas visitors to ‘Find Your GREAT Britain’ and book a trip right now.
It is part of the UK Government’s global GREAT Britain campaign.
Previous destinations to host ExploreGB include Brighton, Liverpool and Ascot.
Overseas visits to the UK are forecast to break through the 40 million mark for the first time in 2018 reaching 41.7 million, up 4.4 per cent on 2017.
Spending by overseas visitors to the UK is forecast to reach £26.9 billion in 2018, up 6.8 pet cent.
Tourism is worth £127 billion to the UK economy creating jobs and boosting economic growth across its nations and regions.