India a priority GREAT market
VisitBritain will be launching a new ‘Experience England’ product in India later this year, making it easier for Indians to visit London and discover other parts of England. It includes open-jaw ticketing, travel between destinations and seamless baggage
QHow was year 2017 in terms of numbers and growth from the India market? Last year saw strong growth from the India market. Visits from India to the UK were up 35 per cent in 2017 compared to the previous year, to a record 562,000 visits, with Indian travellers spending £454 million in the UK last year. India is one of our priority GREAT markets and we recognise its long-term potential as an inbound tourism market. Looking longer-term, visits from India to the UK grew 67 per cent in the decade from 2007 to 2017, from 336,000 to 562,000. Spending by visitors from India in the UK grew 70 per cent from £267 million in 2007 to £454 million in 2017.
Q Is there a change in target audience, given the new campaign?
Our global marketing campaign ‘Find Your GREAT Britain, I Travel For…’ was launched in India in February this year. Our primary audience for this is what we term ‘buzz-seekers,’ young people aged 25-44, couples and families. The tailored content engages potential travellers, inspiring them to book a holiday to the UK and explore more of the country, showcasing that Britain is bursting with new experiences. We are also targeting corporates and incentive groups in India to choose the UK for their events. We continue encouraging the Indian traveller to experience more of regional England. We are also promoting family travel during the winter months with a campaign focused on London, Manchester and Liverpool.
Q Are newer cities in your radar now?
In addition to the metros, we are extending our reach to Tier-II cities through a digital channels, promoting tailored content. Working with our trade partners, we are extending our activity to Tier-II cities through product training, educational trips and supporting them to develop products that make it easier for them to sell the destination. Connecting routes on Middle Eastern carriers have also been growing fast, providing access to travellers from Tier-I and II cities within India to regional British cities including Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh. In 2017, about 1.5 million seats were available to passengers on direct, to the UK, with an average of 110 scheduled services India to the UK have higher seat capacity than any other European country.
Q What are the current areas that VisitBritain is focusing on?
VisitBritain is working with partners in India including tour operators, OTAs and airlines to promote regional destinations and make it easier for visitors from India to book and explore more of the country. We are developing new ‘themed’ products and itineraries for the Indian travel trade and our travel partners, and promoting the ease of rail travel within the UK. We are launching a new ‘Experience England’ product in India later this year, making it easier to visit London and discover other parts of England as part of the same holiday. It includes open-jaw ticketing, travel between destinations and seamless baggage transfer. Visitors will depart from a different English city to the one they entered, ensuring minimal travel.
Q What kind of trade activities have you planned for the rest of the year?
We are extending our activity to Tier-II cities, holding training sessions on UK destinations and the latest tourism products and experiences on offer. We continue to host educational trips to destinations across the UK for the travel trade and run campaigns with our trade partners, introducing new products and customised itineraries focused on food and drink, culture and rail. We also encourage the Indian travel trade to use the tools we have created. Our VisitBritain trade website that was completely rebranded last year is a specialist tool. It is the go-to-place for sample itineraries, accommodation updates, as well as a UK supplier directory and practical information on visiting the UK. VisitBritain has also revamped its image ‘bank’ that the trade can use to download destination images for use on their website, brochures and other collateral by registering on our website.
We are launching a new ‘Experience England’ product in India later this year, making it easier to visit London and discover other parts of England as part of the same holiday