VISITBRITAIN
is calling on the trade to back a new plan to boost domestic tourism.

The
organisation, formed following the merger of the British Tourist Authority and
the English Tourism Council, is consulting the industry on a marketing strategy
to increase tourism in England.

The
process includes setting up trade focus groups, aided by ABTA, to overcome any
barriers to selling domestically and how to increase UK business.

The
draft three-year marketing strategy also includes plans for a campaign in the
January peak booking period to compete with overseas destinations for summer
holidays and another in September aimed at the short-breaks market.

VisitBritain
England marketing director Mike Bedingfield said: “I come from P&O where
90% of business came through travel agencies. It is critical we follow that
strategy and get more commissionable product into travel agencies.

“We
have to accept the fact agencies will sell what is easy and there are a lot
more brochure products available on overseas holidays. In England you spend
more time putting the product together yourself.”

VisitBritain
has created a dedicated post with the remit of working with the industry.

“We
are recruiting someone to ask the travel trade what it needs – more products,
commission, sales reminders, rackable brochures, fam trips?”

The
consultation process ends this month and is due for final agreement in
September.

See
the plan at www.visitbritain.org/englandmarketing.