VisitBritain is set to smash its target of achieving £2b additional visitor spend over a four-year period, after achieving a record-breaking start to the year for inbound tourism.
Three years into its four-year long post-Olympic GREAT campaign, the tourism agency has generated £1.8b extra spend from overseas travellers, according to VisitBritain's annual review published today.
It has also attained £43m of its four-year £50m partnership funding target, putting it on track to hit its goal by the end of the 2014/15 financial year.
In 2011 the government set VisitBritain the target of delivering a £100m marketing campaign over four years, with £50m of that budget generated from partnership funding. As well as attract £2b additional tourist spending, the objectives of the You're Invited campaign were to attract four million additional visitors and create 50,000 new jobs.
January to July 2014 were the strongest seven months in history for inbound tourism, with 19.8 million visits, an increase of 7% compared with the same period last year. In the whole of 2013, Britain welcomed a record 32.8 million visitors and tourism revenues grew by 13% to £24b.
VisitBritain marketing activity has been boosted by partnering up with the likes of British Airways, EasyJet, Virgin Atlantic, P&O Ferries, Expedia, Yahoo! and the Barclays Premier League, while £4m of free advertising space has been secured at Heathrow Airport.
In terms of its market focus for 2014/2015, VisitBritain is working on increasing visits and spend from fast-growing emerging markets such as China, India and the Gulf states, as well as boosting visits from mature markets like the US and France. Later this year, VisitBritain will announce details of its largest ever consumer marketing campaign in China worth £1.6m.
Launching the annual review, Christopher Rodrigues, chairman of VisitBritain said that the tourism agency is proud to have played its part in boosting tourism, which is Britain;s fifth largest export industry
"Every action we take is inspired by a simple motivation: to add value to the inbound tourism industry and drive economic growth across Britain's nations and regions. The last year has seen this happen and we want to continue that story of success and growth to achieve our ambition of 40 million inbound visitors by 2020."