Tourism is key to the UK's growth strategy, Culture Secretary Maria Miller is expected to say today in her first keynote speech on the sector.
Miller will be speaking at the World Travel Market in London today and is due to tell the industry that it has a huge role to play in selling Britain to the world, and that the industry will be innovative and competitive as it seeks to reap the benefits of a year that has seen Britain prominent on the international stage, with both the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee.
She will hail economic success for the UK's tourism market, illustrated by record tourist spend of £598m in August 2012, up 9% on 2011. But she will warn that the industry cannot be complacent in the face of increasing international competition.
She is expected to say: "The central role of tourism is nothing new. Throughout the ages, the ability to travel has lain at the heart of a country's evolution. It has always been linked to business and growth, as people crossed continents in search of knowledge and fortune, as well as experiencing first-hand a country's unique cultural offer. Although first and foremost a backbone of commerce, travel has always been about aspiration and ambition; about curiosity and discovering something new.
"In Britain, this Government recognises that tourism is a cornerstone of growth. Currently our fifth biggest industry, many think it could be our fastest growing sector over the next decade.
"That's one of the reasons we've created our biggest ever marketing campaign - the GREAT campaign. A campaign that's innovative and inspiring, showcasing the very best of what Britain has to offer, and why our country is a fantastic place to visit, study and do business.
"Early forecasts on the financial returns from our investment in the GREAT campaign are really encouraging. Analysis shows that our investment in the campaign to date is projected to generate a quarter of a billion pounds for the British economy over the next two years.
"Alongside our campaigns we're also working hard across Government to reduce any perceived barriers to tourism. To make clear that not only is Britain a great place to experience but also a great place to visit. To create the right conditions for both inward and outward tourism to thrive."
VisitBritain's GREAT campaign will target nine countries worldwide, with adverts appearing in 14 key cities: Beijing, Berlin, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Mumbai, New Delhi, New York, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Sydney, Tokyo, and Toronto. Around 70% of the population in each of the target cities will see the advertising on billboards, TV, or in the cinema. The current marketing programme runs from 2011-15 and aims to deliver four million extra visitors over four years. These visitors are expected to spend an additional £2b in the UK and create 50,000 new job opportunities and growth across the country.
By Neil Gerrard
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