Ex­plore Great Bri­tain be­yond Lon­don

Patricia Yates, Di­rec­tor of Strat­egy and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, VisitBri­tain, talks about how im­por­tant an event like Ex­ploreGB is for them to en­gage with the travel trade around the world. She says that for them to get more trav­ellers to Bri­tain en­gag­ing with t

TravTalk - India - - INTERVIEW - PEDEN DOMA BHUTIA FROM BRIGHTON

QWhat does an event like Ex­ploreGB do for a des­ti­na­tion like Great Bri­tain? How does it help you drive tourism to the coun­try?

One of our main drivers for the event is to get peo­ple to ex­plore more of Bri­tain. Lon­don is a global city that’s very well-known, but we want to send tourists across the na­tion and re­gions. Par­tic­u­larly in mar­kets like In­dia we do that by get­ting prod­ucts in the brochures of the In­dian travel trade. This is a real op­por­tu­nity to bring In­dian buy­ers over and show­case all the at­trac­tions and ho­tels that they can think about pack­ag­ing. We then take them around the coun­try and show them the var­i­ous des­ti­na­tions so that they can get a first-hand feel of it. But I don’t think that’s enough, so what we need to do fur­ther is it tie it up with a bow al­most and give them some­thing that can be booked in their brochure. We have lots of great at­trac­tions and ho­tels but we need to make it easy for the In­dian travel trade to make that a sell­able prod­uct. We are known for our in­spi­ra­tional mar­ket­ing, like the whole OMGB cam­paign is very pop­u­lar, but we need to make sure that we can sup­port the trade so that they can sell be­hind that cam­paign.

QIn­dia is still a tra­di­tional mar­ket, even as there might be a rise in on­line book­ings it eas­ier to book hol­i­days through a travel agent. How are you en­gag­ing with the travel trade?

We’ve ap­pointed a new coun­try man­ager - Vikas Sheth and he’s based in Mum­bai and that’s a re­flec­tion of the fact that we ap­pre­ci­ate the fact that we need to work more closely with the trade. We’ve just done our mis­sion which is look­ing out­side the ma­jor ci­ties in In­dia, mainly the Tier-II and Tier-III ci­ties, where we hold trade en­gage­ments. Our in­ter­me­di­aries have just been taken over by a new di­rec­tor, who’s re­view­ing how we en­gage with the trade, how can we sup­port them and what we do with pro­grammes like Brita­gent that we use to broaden and in­crease the knowl­edge of the agents and how do we take it into the next phase and make that use­able and sup­port­ive of the in­ter­na­tional trade, so, there is lot of work go­ing on, recog­nis­ing that we want to get more peo­ple to our coun­try and the way to that in In­dia is ab­so­lutely to work with the travel trade.

We see his­toric growth from In­dia, in 2015, we’ve seen vis­its up 8 per cent and a spend of al­most £433 mil­lion. In­dia is a solid mar­ket for us, the at­trac­tion of the In­dian mar­ket is that they tend to have good re­gional dis­bur­sal and they tend to stay long so this is a mar­ket that sees a strong growth.

Patricia Yates Di­rec­tor of Strat­egy and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions VisitBri­tain

QRe­cently the UK and In­dia have signed an agree­ment to in­crease air con­nec­tiv­ity be­tween the two coun­tries. How much of a change will that bring about in terms of vis­i­tor ar­rivals for you? Any In­dian ci­ties that you’d

Con­nec­tiv­ity ab­so­lutely un­der­pins whether peo­ple travel to a des­ti­na­tion. We have tra­di­tion­ally worked in In­dia not just with Bri­tish Air­ways but also the Mid­dle Eastern car­ri­ers who have great re­gional con­nec­tiv­ity into In­dia and Bri­tain and it’s worked both ways for us. The flight in­creases are op­por­tu­ni­ties for us of re­ally fo­cus­ing on those ci­ties and our strat­egy in the fu­ture would be much more city based rather than coun­try based. It is an ac­knowl­edge­ment that you are draw­ing peo­ple from the re­gions to re­ally go to the air­ports and get on those flights. I’m very happy to fol­low the com­mer­cial judge­ment of the air­lines of which ci­ties they’d like to fly to.

QHow has 2016 been for you vis-à-vis the In­dian mar­ket? We see his­toric growth from In­dia, in 2015, we’ve seen vis­its up 8 per cent and a spend of al­most £433 mil­lion. In­dia is a solid mar­ket for us, the at­trac­tion of the In­dian mar­ket is that they tend to have good re­gional dis­bur­sal and they tend to stay long so this is a mar­ket that sees a strong growth. The in­creased in­vest­ment into In­dia recog­nises the fact that it’s a good growth mar­ket.

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