TravTalk - India

Britain through films, TV shows

VisitBrita­in is keen to promote its destinatio­ns through popular films and TV shows, says its CEO Patricia Yates. The tourism board will release a campaign titled ‘Starring Great Britain’ sometime this year.

- Hazel Jain

Patricia Yates, Chief Executive Officer, VisitBrita­in, said that they will use popular films and TV shows shot across Britain to promote the destinatio­n among travellers. “It (films and TV shows) is a great industry to align with. The new campaign titled ‘Starring Great Britain’ will be released around early summer globally, including India. We will work through the destinatio­ns that we want to promote through this in each market. It will be a global campaign, but we will tailor it by market depending on what films and TV shows work there and what destinatio­n they showcase. For instance, West Midlands is the background for Peaky Blinders and the success of this show has led to travel to Birmingham,” she revealed.

Emphasizin­g on the importance of film and TV shows, Yates said, “Set-jetting is a booming trend - more than half of the travellers Expedia recently surveyed said films and TV were inspiring their travel plans. By shining the spotlight on film and TV inspired experience­s you can only have in Britain, we are encouragin­g visitors to come now and discover more, putting themselves in the picture. Films and TV drives urgency to visit. Castle Howard in North Yorkshire reported that visitors aged 18-24 years to its website increased by 3,400 per cent after Bridgerton was released.”

Engaging the trade

Trade engagement will be important, and Yates touches upon that. “We need to also persuade the operators to put more such products into the itinerary and sell it. We need to be committed to this. The northeast will continue to be a focus – it’s a destinatio­n that doesn’t attract too many internatio­nal visitors. It has a heritage site and is also where Harry Potter Quidditch games we re filmed. We are scoping the new campaign right now and will kick it off as soon as we can,” Yates added. Showcase Britain 2024, the internatio­nal trade event organised recently by VisitBrita­in at Old Royal Naval College in London’s Greenwich, welcomed 120 travel buyers from 18 countries, including 11 from India, who met destinatio­n sellers coming from England, Scotland and Wales. The buyers were also taken to Coventry, Stratford-upon-Avon, and Birmingham for educationa­l visits. Air India was the airline partner for Indian delegation. Following the event, Yates has invited suggestion­s from the travel trade in India on the new campaign, which would likely be showcased at the next big event – Destinatio­n Britain, to be held this year in Goa in November.

India stats looking great

Yates said, “Pre-COVID spend in 2019 from India to the UK was about £753 million, which went up to £776 million in 2023. This year, we are forecastin­g India to be a £924 million market, which would be approximat­ely a billion-pound market. This year, we are forecastin­g 695,000 visitors from India, which is back to pre-COVID levels. India has recovered and there is real excitement about the market. We also see an increase in spend per visitor – people are spending 30-40 per cent more than they were pre-COVID. And that is not just India market.”

By shining the spotlight on film and TV inspired experience­s you can only have in Britain, we are encouragin­g visitors to come now and discover more

Of this, the average spend per visit by an Indian traveller is up from £848 to £1,480. The length of stay has also increased. Visitors from India stayed an average of 23 days in 2023 based on the latest data, up from an average of 18 days in 2019.

“India is a growing market and we already have strong links with VFR. We now want to increase the high-end traveller and business travellers coming to the UK as well. We also see a jump in wanting experience­s and we need to tap into that,” she added.

Destinatio­n Britain for the MENA region will be held in Goa this year in November and dates will be released soon.

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Chief Executive Officer, VisitBrita­in
Patricia Yates Chief Executive Officer, VisitBrita­in
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