THERE’S NO BETTER TIME TO SEE (AND SELL) BRITAIN
With the upcoming coronation of a new king, and the legacy of its previous monarch, along with other high-profile events in the UK in 2022 such as The Commonwealth Games, there is no better time to be selling Britain, says the country’s tourist board chair.
“Already memories are rich with the pageantry of the Jubilee from last year (and) the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, which was a sporting marvel. It means Britain is fresh in people’s minds,” says Nick de Bois.
“But this year 2023, we’ll have our own highlights. We will have the coronation – a once-in-a-generation, once-in-a-lifetime, opportunity – where the eyes of the world will be on that event. And, of course, quite thrillingly, we have the Eurovision Song Contest (in Liverpool), which has a great musical heritage. This is a way for us to build on – and convert – those opportunities in the minds of visitors.”
Visit Britain CEO Patricia Yates is confident the May 6 coronation of King Charles III will be the biggest event for Britain in 2023 with celebrations across the country, but also because Britain will be seen on TV around the world.
Yates believes that such events “absolutely drive” tourism, as potential visitors see the destination on the small screen and are inspired to discover a larger canvas in person.
Moreover, as with The Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and the West Midlands last summer, a promotional campaign for the region was conducted in Canada and other Commonwealth countries to piggyback on the event and create exponential results.
Yates says Visit Britain will be continuing the campaign in Canada in 2023. “We certainly saw that campaign to bring travel trade and journalists over to get that sense of aspiration and excitement (succeed), but also to build the program that called people to come. West Midlands itself has been very pleased with how that’s gone, so they’re going to do more (this year).”
She adds that many Canadian athletes and their families also experienced Birmingham and neighbouring cities like Coventry during the Games and passed on positive reviews through social media and word of mouth, stating, “I think that’s very powerful.”
VisitBritain travel trade manager for Canada, Lynda Falcone, points out that considerable money was also spent on infrastructure and amenities for the Commonwealth Games, leaving a legacy for future visitors.
Yates believes London and all of Britain are still benefiting from the 2012 Olympics.
“’Welcome’ is very important for the tourism business, but our welcome soared after the London Olympics. If you see the scenes of people helping in the streets, and the fun, it really changes peoples’ perceptions, and that’s really important – so some of the perceptions are shaped by watching those events on television; and most of the stations (also) now do destination pieces that tie in.”
Equally advantageous to Britain is its presence as TV and film settings, from James Bond to Harry Potter. All things “Peaky Blinders” can be found in Birmingham, including film settings at the nearby Black Country Museum. And “Downton Abbey” aficionados are high on Highclere castle. “Bridgerton” is the latest fad at Castle Howard and in Bath where some scenes are filmed, with walking tours showing off the sites; and Scotland continues to be an in-destination for “Outlander” fans.
All of which is to say, says Nick de Bois, that “with the wonderful range of sites and experiences that Britain offers its visitors, really there is no better time to be selling Britain’s destinations.”
First published at Travel Industry Today