VisitBritain chairman says real tourism challenge comes after Olympics

VisitBritain chairman says real tourism challenge comes after Olympics

Spending by travellers to the UK rose by 6% to a record £18.2 billion in the 12 months to May.

Inbound holidaymakers reached a record 12.3 million in the period, according to figures from the International Passenger Survey.

VisitBritain chairman Christopher Rodrigues called on the industry, tourism promotion agencies and the government to work together “as never before to raise Britain’s game” to continue the momentum following the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“VisitBritain and its partners will roll out of the next phase of the GREAT marketing campaign immediately after the Games to ensure that the unprecedented coverage of Britain during the Games is converted into increased visitors to our country,” he said.

“We are determined to avoid the post-Games decline that has hurt so many previous major event organisers.”

VisitBritain will deliver a consultation document in the autumn which lays out a market-by-market partnership plan “to make our best ever performance even better,” he added.

Rodrigues said: “The Games provide a wonderful platform, but tourism is a fiercely competitive business and there is no room for complacency. The real challenge comes after the Games.

“Our major competitors, which include the USA, France, China and Spain are all raising their game with improved visa processing, lower taxes and increasing investment in tourism infrastructure and marketing because they understand that in a time of weak economic growth and high unemployment – particularly amongst the young – investing in tourism is a proven winner - creating jobs, delivering growth and providing significant proven returns on investment.

“Many of our tourism competitors face even tougher economic conditions than we do – and maybe because of that they are turning to tourism to provide a powerful engine to support recovery.”

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