Exclusive: Tourism chiefs on charm offensive as Brexit looms

VisitBritain is to mount a £1.7m campaign aimed at persuading travellers from European countries to continue to come to Britain, amid concerns over a "slowdown" in tourism, PRWeek can reveal.

One of the images being used in VisitBritain's new campaign
One of the images being used in VisitBritain's new campaign

The 'I Travel for…' campaign is due to begin in Europe next month.

Over the coming weeks France, Germany, Italy, and Spain will be among the countries targeted with messaging emphasising the welcome that tourists will get in the UK.

Robin Johnson, Europe director at VisitBritain, said: "We have seen a slowdown in visitor numbers from Europe and, given the UK relies on European markets for around 70% of inbound tourism visits, it is essential that we work hard to retain visitors from this region."

VisitBritain, a non-departmental public body, has "refreshed" its campaign content promoting Britain as a tourist destination, to make it more welcoming.

Johnson said: "Welcome and value for money are two key messages throughout the 'I Travel For…' campaign in Europe, reassuring visitors that they will experience a warm welcome."

He added: "We are also focusing on the travel passions that motivate our European audiences and linking those with experiences that can only be had in Britain."

The campaign aims to promote Britain’s landscape, as well as living history, festivals, music and cultural events.

It is targeting what VisitBritain calls 'Buzzseekers' and 'Explorers' – tourists seeking adventure and authentic experiences, as well as holidays filled with interesting activities and learning opportunities.

Destination brand advertising and campaigns with commercial partners including easyJet will highlight Britain as an open, welcoming and diverse destination, according to VisitBritain.

Tourism chiefs hope such partnerships will boost their efforts and translate into a rise in visitor numbers.

The campaign will incorporate a mix of cinema, outdoor, print, digital, video and social-media advertising.

VisitBritain claims that promoting a message of welcome and value will reassure visitors that a warm welcome awaits them in Britain.

Showing that Britain is a great place to visit right now and a destination bursting with experiences that you can’t get anywhere else will drive immediacy to visit, according to the tourism body.

The effectiveness of the campaign will be measured and evaluated through VisitBritain’s brand tracker, which monitors additional visitor spend in Britain as a result of its activity, and bespoke brand surveys.

Analytical metrics including impressions, reach and engagement across channels, will also be used to refine and enhance content in real time for targeted reach.

VisitBritain predicts that for every £1 invested in the campaign, visitors from Europe will spend an additional £25 in Britain as a result.

The campaign will run until the end of March, with the plans for its next phase in Europe, from April, currently being developed.

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