British consumers are today being urged to invite their friends and relatives from around the world to visit the UK in 2012.
The push for increased visiting friends and relatives (VFR) travel comes from VisitBritain which has released a free online toolkit for people to use.
This will allow users to personalise their greeting and enable them to invite their global network to the UK for their next holiday.
The social media methods includes a ‘10 GREAT Reasons’ app on VisitBritain’s highly popular LoveUK Facebook page, along with a personalised postcard that can be downloaded from visitbritain.org.
International friends or relatives who receive an invitation will be entered into a draw to win two return flights to the UK, while anyone sending an invite has the chance to win a Samsung Galaxy tablet.
The tourism agency’s ‘Share Your GREAT Britain’ campaign aims to build on the £3.6 billion that VFR already contributes to the economy each year.
VisitBritain research shows VFR visitors are most likely to come from Ireland, France and the US, while Australians (£831), Canadians (£513) and Americans (£453) have the highest average spend per visit.
Tourism minister John Penrose said: “This is an innovative and personal way of encouraging more visitors to the UK and comes at a time when we want to ensure Britain is top of everyone’s holiday wishlist.
“From the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, to the Diamond Jubilee, we want as many people as possible to come and join in the celebrations, so an open invitation from UK households to friends and family abroad is an ideal way of increasing visitor numbers and making 2012 a truly memorable year for tourism.”
VisitBritain chief executive Sandie Dawe said: “This is an important new phase of our four-year marketing programme to gain greater international exposure and increase the number of visitors to Britain.
“Working in partnership with the industry we aim to reinvigorate our appeal in core markets such as the US, and to increase business in the important growth markets such as the BRIC countries. Our goal is to deliver four million visitors over four years who will spend an additional £2 billion.”
She added: “In June 2011 we launched a series of films in which British celebrities extended a personal invitation to Britain. This was followed by deals and offers from the travel industry.
“Now, we believe this invitation from the British public will inspire a greater number of visitors to choose Britain for their next holiday. 2012 is the year to be in Britain – with a raft of new festivals, exhibitions and events marking the Diamond Jubilee, celebrations of Shakespeare and Dickens and the hosting of the Olympic Games.
“The Visiting Friends and Relations market is large, resilient and offers huge potential for each region in UK across the whole of the year, so the more people that get involved in the ‘Share Your GREAT Britain’ campaign, the greater the impact can be for the whole country.”
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