Hospitality businesses have just a few days left to sign up to a VisitBritain initiative aimed at drawing international media covering the Olympics out of London to feature other attractions and events that the rest of Britain has to offer.
The tourism body is encouraging hotels, restaurants, pubs and other attractions to submit special offers, typically complimentary stays, or at least a heavy discount at a minimum of 50% off, to its website by Monday 23 April - by which time there will be fewer than 100 days to go until the start of the games. The offer period will run from 1 July to 15 October inclusive.
The idea behind the scheme is to tempt some of the estimated 25,000 international media hosted in Britain out into different parts of the country to showcase tourism opportunities there.
A spokesman for VisitBritain declined to reveal how many offers had been submitted to date, other than to say it had received "numerous" responses. There is no guarantee under the programme that the businesses offering complimentary or discounted stays will feature in any subsequent media coverage
One business owner who has signed up is Felicity Cunliffe-Lister, proprietor of Swinton Park, a luxury castle hotel in the Yorkshire Dales. She said the hotel typically had about 10 foreign journalists staying with the hotel each year (excluding groups) and that she could not say so far whether the Olympics had generated any additional trips so far, although she hoped that the VisitBritain initiative would generate enquiries.
"If we were to get four or five trips then I would be pleased. There is always the risk that some might not have a commission for a feature, but that is a risk I am happy to run," she said.
"The cost to me is a night's accommodation per journalist. If you put a value on what just one good feature in a good quality publication might amount to then it's money well spent."
By Neil Gerrard
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