A new four-year campaign which aims to market Britain as "the greatest show on earth" would create 50,000 tourism jobs and bring in an extra one million overseas visitors to the UK, the prime minister announced this morning.
Cash and payment in kind has been pledged by the likes of Radisson Edwardian, British Airways, Lastminute.com and P&O to help match the £50m of public money already committed by VisitBritain, to create a total fund of £100m.
David Cameron told a reception at Downing Street, attended by representatives of some of the companies which have already showed their support, that the eyes of the world will be focused on Britain as never before over the next two years.
"A Royal Wedding, Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee and of course the London Olympic and Paralympic Games offer us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, not just for national pride and celebration, but also to promote this country as the perfect tourist destination, helping to create 50,000 new jobs and bring £2b more visitor spending to the UK," Cameron said.
"Last year we challenged British businesses to help us put together the best tourism marketing campaign ever for Britain - something that will make us the must-see destination for visitors from new growth markets in Asia and Latin America, as well as core ones such as Europe and the USA.
"The response has been magnificent, with pledges of cash and kind from companies that mean we are well on the way to our target."
Jeremy Hunt, secretary of state for culture, Olympics, media and sport, said that British companies had already dug deep to back the Government in promoting the campaign.
"And I hope that others will pitch in, too - to become part of the global launch to market Britain as quite literally the greatest show on earth," he added.
The companies that have been announced so far are just the first raft of the founding partners of the campaign. Other companies involved in the tourism industry are being urged to sign up, too.
Jasminder Singh, chairman and chief executive of the Radisson Edwardian Group, said that his company was proud to be playing a part in promoting the country as a tourism destination, working in partnership with both trade and Government.
"We have 13 individual hotels in fantastic locations across London and Manchester which we hope will benefit from this partnership and provide both sides with some key opportunities for growth," he said.
Left to right: Jeremy Hunt, secretary of state for culture, Olympics, media and sport; John Crummie, managing director, DFDS Seaways; Ed Kamm, CEO, Lastminute.com; Willie Walsh, CEO, BA; Sandie Dawe, CEO, VisitBritain; David Cameron; Simon Johnson, passenger services director, P&O Ferries; Paul Mansi, chief operating officer, Radisson Edwardian Hotels; John Penrose, tourism minister; Christopher Rodrigues, chairman, VisitBritain
By Janet Harmer
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