VisitBritain kicks off 12-month city drive

Tourism organisation Visit-Britain has embarked on a year-long national campaign to encourage British people to take short breaks in English cities.

The City Culture campaign aims to promote the cultural heritage of 30 of England’s cities, complementing last year’s Outdoor England campaign, which highlighted rural holiday destinations.

The campaign involves newspaper advertising and online marketing but the majority of work will be travel media relations, handled by VisitBritain’s in-house team and retained agency Weber Shandwick.

VisitBritain has persuaded 11 celebrities to back the campaign, including Loyd Grossman, Gary Lineker and Lord Puttnam. Each provides insights into their own fields of interest to inform visitors about what English cities have to offer on cultural themes ranging from architecture to movie locations. Their thoughts are collected in a free 80-page City Culture brochure, which also details the events and places of interest in each of the campaign cities.

The domestic tourism industry is recovering rapidly and is worth 80 per cent of Britain’s overall tourism income of £76bn.

‘The last decade has seen a revolution in the range and quality of cultural attractions our cities have to offer,’ said tourism minister Richard Caborn MP, when he launched the City Culture campaign at the British Travel Trade Fair in Birmingham last week.

A survey, commissioned by VisitBritain as a news hook for the campaign, found that one in ten Britons take more than eight trips a month to museums and galleries or to watch spectator sports, music concerts and theatre performances. Around 24 million domestic visitors holiday in England’s cities each year, spending £3.8bn.

VisitBritain’s research showed that 18 to 34-year-olds make up a significant number of those visitors, with 54 per cent of those surveyed taking between one and three city breaks a year in the UK. Young people will be a key target audience for the campaign.

The cities, which include London, Bath, Liverpool and Stratford-upon-Avon, were chosen according to a variety of cultural and heritage requirements and to get a regional spread. The campaign is sponsored by Jurys Doyle Hotels and Jurys Inns.

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