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VisitBritain plans £10m cities tourism push as testing rules are dropped

A £10 million VisitBritain international marketing campaign is being launched in February to coincide with the scrapping of testing restrictions for vaccinated travellers.

The promotion will target the UK’s most valuable visitor markets of Europe and the US.

It will spotlight cities including London, Edinburgh and Cardiff which have been hit hard by the lack of international visitors during the pandemic.

The plans emerged as prime minister Boris Johnson called on international tourists to visit the UK as “one of the most open countries in Europe”.

Events planned for this year include the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The VisitBritain campaign goes live in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands in the week of February 14 after the US on  February 10.

VisitBritain chief executive Sally Balcombe said: “We know there is pent up demand for travel and our priority is to build back demand for Britain and visitor spending as quickly as possible, competing hard for international visitors who contribute billions to our economy.

“As well as messages of welcome and reassurance, we’re shining the spotlight on our vibrant and diverse cities.

“Telling the stories of our renowned heritage with a modern twist, our buzzing contemporary culture and innovative food and drink scene, we are showing that Britain is packed full of fresh and exciting experiences to come and see today.

“This year’s landmark events, set to be global tourism draws, also present exciting and timely opportunities to highlight once-in-a-lifetime experiences that visitors can only have here, and to promote our welcome and creativity to the world.”

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “We made the right calls at the right time and thanks to our vaccine and booster rollout it’s paying off – allowing us to safely remove nearly all Covid-19 travel restrictions for vaccinated travellers.

“We already have one of the most open economies in Europe with the least restrictions, and because of these changes we now have a travel sector to match it.

“This final step in our stable and safe full return to international travel is a major boost for UK tourism, setting Britain free ahead of the crucial half term and spring holiday season.”

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