VisitBritain to push UK as value destination

VisitBritain is to remarket the UK as a value destination in order to attract more domestic tourists.

Speaking at the launch of the British Tourism Framework Review today, chairman Christopher Rodrigues said 2009 was a defining moment for British tourism.

He said this was because while the weak pound is helpful in attracting overseas customers, there is an opportunity to push the UK to domestic consumers who face increased costs overseas due to the strong dollar and euro.

He said these factors could result in up to 5 million additional domestic breaks being taken this year.

However, he admitted the plan’s success remains dependent on government funding which is still too low to allow VisitBritain to implement the plan effectively.

Rodrigues said: “For both overseas and domestic markets, people have to understand we’re good value and it is less expensive than overseas.”

He added a PR campaign was already under way to push the value message through the UK’s national newspapers while a national television advertising campaign starting in April will further drive the message.

Rodrigues, a former Thomas Cook chief executive, added agents can take advantage of the opportunity to drive domestic sales thanks to the additional knowledge and service they provide.

He added: “Good agents are incredibly valuable because they know things that you can’t find out on the web. They add value and help you plan your holiday and encourage you to explore places that you don’t know.”

However, Rodrigues reiterated the government’s decision announced in October 2007 to cut funding by 18% over three years will hamper both the long-term remarketing plan and the more immediate needs of the London 2012 Olympics.

He said: “The plan for achieving the tourism legacy benefits of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games remains largely unfunded.

“It is also the case that the value for money story that the recent weakening of the pound allows us to promote only has limited funding at a time when modest additional support for tourism marketing can have rapid, real and material impact on creating and sustaining employment.”

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