As part of a combined effort to rebuild the country’s tourism industry following the Pandemic, Visit West, the Destination Management Organisation for Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire is working with Visit Britain, the national tourism agency, to host travel trade buyers and tour operators from around the world at the end of the month.
Over 30 buyers from Canada, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Spain will experience some of the highlights and key attractions within the Visit West region including The Roman Baths, Brunel’s SS Great Britain, Aerospace Bristol and Cheddar Gorge & Caves.
Kathryn Davis, Managing Director and CEO, Visit West said: “We are delighted to be working with Visit Britain, bringing representatives from several countries to the region. This gives us an incredible opportunity to show why this area is worth visiting as we rebuild our international profile following the devastating impact of the pandemic on our inbound visitor market. Working with the travel trade is critical in this, as they provide an essential link to future visitors. Both Bristol and Bath feature in the top inbound destinations according to the International Passenger Survey, welcoming more that 1m international visitors to the region in 2019.”
Visit West also has an extensive programme of additional activity planned in the coming months to promote the region both in the UK and oversees, including attending ITB Berlin, one of the world’s largest and most important travel trade events, while Visit Britain is set to launch a new GREAT Britain marketing campaign in February. The ‘See Things Differently’ campaign will showcase Britain as a dynamic, exciting and inclusive destination, capturing major events in 2023 including the Coronation of King Charles III in May, with an additional Bank Holiday announced, and Liverpool hosting the Eurovision Song Contest, on behalf of Ukraine, also in May.
VisitBritain CEO Patricia Yates said: “We are delighted to be showcasing Britain to international buyers to drive bookings. From the beauty of our coast and countryside to the exciting variety of our cultural attractions to our world class dining and accommodation, buyers will experience first-hand the warmest of British welcomes and the outstanding and varied tourism products on offer.”
“Working with the international travel trade is crucial to ensuring they are ready to sell Britain, as well as to broadening travel itineraries, encouraging visitors to explore further and stay longer.”
International staying visitors spent more than £400m in the Visit West region in 2019, a figure that dropped to £87m in 2021. This includes spend in retail, food and drink, accommodation, travel and entertainment supporting our high streets, towns and cities. VisitBritain’s latest forecast for 2023 estimates 35.1 million inbound visits to the UK, 86% of 2019 levels and 18% higher than levels seen in 2022. Its forecast for overseas visitor spending in the UK this year is £29.5 billion, a projected record high for annual inbound visitor spend.