VisitEngland has urged travel agents to learn even more about the UK to capitalise on increased interest in domestic holidays following the launch of its £4 million Great Adventure campaign starring Wallace and Gromit.
The tourist board and the culture, media and sport secretary of state Maria Miller have officially launched a TV advertisement starring Wallace and Gromit as part of the new campaign, funded by government and using match-funding from the industry. The ad goes lives across commercial TV stations and cinemas from Sunday May 12 (view the ad below).
Agents supporting the campaign include Thomson, Thomas Cook, Advantage, Midcounties Co-op Travel, Premier Travel and the Travel Network Group with operators Attraction World, Superbreak, Hoseasons, Bourne Leisure and Shearings Holidays.
VisitEngland chief executive James Berresford said the organisation aimed to keep working closely with the trade next year to promote holidays at home.
He said: "My message to agents is to take this opportunity to continue to learn about our about changing landscape to promote domestic tourism. We have started the learning process but there is still a way to go and there is nothing like holiday sales to help that.
"We have gone back out to travel agents to reintroduce them to domestic holidays, and what you will now see is agents being real champions of domestic tourism. We will continue to work with the trade; they are a key facet of [selling] domestic tourism."
Culture secretary Miller added; "Not so long ago people would visit their travel agent and automatically think of [booking] a holiday to Spain or Turkey. The word holiday almost become synonymous with going abroad. I think the holidays at home campaign changes this. Who better than Wallace and Gromit to be the faces of this new campaign showing holidays at home are great?"
In the ad the famous animated characters Wallace and Gromit are shown planning a holiday, with Gromit eventually persuading Wallace to take a domestic break. The ad directs consumers to their local travel agent via the website yourgreatadventure.co.uk. Consumers can find details of their local participating agent by putting their postcode into the site.
To support the campaign, Bourne Leisure is visiting more than 1,000 agents, multiples and independents, with Wallace and Gromit stickers from next week, while Shearings Holidays is producing a special Wallace and Gromit themed brochure for the trade - its first at this time of year.
Bourne Leisure head of retail sales Allan Lambert said the agent-focused campaign represented a step-change at government level.
"They are saying agents are a valued channel of choice for consumers; they are great ambassadors of tourism. This is the most cohesive piece of engagement we ahve been involved in delivered for agents specifically. There is an opportunity for them to have their share of domestic holidays," he said.
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