Written evidence submitted by VisitBritain
The whole of the UK's tourism industry will
benefit from the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games,
with economic gains maximised across every nation and region of
the UK. In addition the long-term image of the UK as a visitor
destination will be enhanced while visitors to Britain during
2012 and beyond will be assured of a world-class welcome.
1.1 VisitBritain, incorporated under the Development
of Tourism Act 1969 as the British Tourist Authority, is Britain's
national tourism agency, responsible for marketing Britain overseas.
We work in partnership with thousands of organisations in the
UK and overseas to ensure that Britain is marketed appropriately
and effectively in 35 markets around the world. We also work to
realise the potential of the tourism industry within the UK itself.
1.2 VisitBritain is grateful for the opportunity
to share information and views for this important inquiry into
preparations for the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic
Games. There are key issues in the visitor economy that VisitBritain
would wish to be borne in mind. VisitBritain sees its role as
enabling tourism businesses and, particularly those regions outside
of London, to benefit from the hosting of the Games in 2012. To
this end, we have been working in partnership for some time with
Visit London, our strategic partners across Britain, and in particularly
with LOCOG's Nations and Regions group.
1.3 Tourism is a £114 billion industry that
sustains over 2.6 million jobs, directly employs 4.3% of Britain's
workforce and supports 200,000 small and medium-sized enterprises
(SMEs). Against this positive background, the impact of the world
recession has been significant and many of the world's highest
value tourist destinations have seen sharp downturns in tourist
spending. During the first 10 months of 2009 Britain welcomed
8% fewer international visitors than in the 2008 equivalent period.
1.4 Latest figures suggest that whilst 2010
will not see record numbers of inbound visitors or visitor spend,
the prolonged weakness in the value of sterling will result in
a stronger performance, particularly in visitor spend. The tourism
industry has therefore reached a turning point and will be a key
economic driver to lift Britain out of recession as we enter 2010
and beyond. The 2012 Games are critical to this, and this submission
sets out how the Games will deliver a lasting legacy for Britain's
visitor economy and how this legacy will be maximised across the
1.5 We have kept this memorandum as brief
as possible and would welcome the opportunity to provide oral
evidence to elaborate on those areas of the visitor economy that
most interest the committee.
2. Potential tourism benefits of the Games
and strategies for achieving these
2.1 In 2006 an Oxford Economics study predicted
that the 2012 Games could generate between £2.1-£2.9 billion
in incremental tourism revenue between then and 2016. These figureswhich
represent 10% of the total £21 billion potential economic
benefit of the 2012 Games more recently estimated by Lloyds TSBare
at the heart of all tourism strategies surrounding the 2012 Games
although the potential benefits of the Games to tourism extend
way beyond the pure economic.
Tourism legacies of other Olympic and major event
host nations include:
Barcelona 1992 was the first of a series
of events that have helped make Barcelona the third most popular
city break destination in Europe.
Sydney 2000 accelerated the development
of "Brand Australia" by at least a decade.
Germany 2006 helped propel Germany to
the number one nation brand and significantly enhanced the country's
appeal as a potential visitor destination.
The Canadians are hoping that Vancouver
2010 will help them enter the Top 10 of the world's leading destinations
2.2 "Winning: a tourism strategy
for 2012 and beyond", recognises that although London
and Britain are already among the world's top city and country
destinations, only a very small percentage of Britain's 200,000
tourism businesses will be high up in the 2012 Games supply chain
and thus have any direct engagement with the 2012 Games and their
visitors and spectators (see figure 1 below). It also recognises
the potential of the 2012 Games to act as a catalyst in addressing
a number of critical issues which are currently limiting the potential
growth of tourism into and within this country. These include
the need to reach out to younger visitors and to new markets,
to improve aspects and overall perceptions of Britain's welcome
and to counteract potential tourism displacement effects which
have proved to be a problem for previous Olympic Games host countries.
2.3 The strategy, published by DCMS in collaboration
with VisitBritain and Visit London in October 2007, set out eight
key objectives for maximising the potential benefits offered to
UK tourism by the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.
This strategy set out eight key objectives, as follows:
1. Engage all UK tourism businesses in a national
2. Improve international perceptions of Britain.
3. Deliver a first-class welcome to all visitors.
4. Improve the skills of the workforce.
5. Drive up quality in accommodation.
6. Maximise the opportunities for increasing
business visits and events.
7. Spread the benefits across the UK.
8. Improve sustainability.
2.4 More recently VisitBritain has grouped
its own 2012 Games-related activities under three main objectives:
| (A) Economic Benefit
||To maximise the economic benefits for tourism across the UK
||Supports Government Olympic objective 3.1.2:|
To maximise the economic benefits of the Games across the UK including for tourism and business promotion
|To boost the UK's image as a visitor destination
||Supports Government Olympic objective 3.1.7:|
To promote positive images of the UK to an international audience
|To deliver a warm and professional welcome|
to visitors in 2012 and beyond
|Supports Olympic Legacy Action Plan promise 5:|
To demonstrate that the UK is a creative, inclusive and welcoming place to live in, visit and for business
3. How legacy will be delivered
3.1 Economic Benefit
To maximise the economic benefits for tourism across the
UK VisitBritain is concentrating on the following four key areas:
(i) Business Visits & Events: We are using the
2012 Games as a platform to secure more sporting and business
events throughout Britain, for example by: Providing bidding
organisations with advocacy and technical information to support
their bids for other major sporting events and Pre-Games Training
Camps in the run up to 2012.
Increasing Britain's "events" content at international
showcases and exhibitions and running more familiarisation trips
and educational activities for international Meetings, Incentives,
Conferences and Exhibitions buyers.
Creating tools for events organisers to encourage
delegates to extend their trips and thus help maximise the tourism
impact of these events.
Hosting a "World travel leaders Summit"
for key decision makers and buyers in 2011.
(ii) Industry engagement: We are providing information
and opportunities to help the wider tourism industry engage with
and benefit from the 2012 Games. An immediate example is the creation
of a virtual network through which every UK tourism business will
be able to get information about, and design their own business
plans around the Gamessee figure 2 below.
www.tourism2012games.com will be launched in March 2010. This
B2B website is aimed at people who work in Britain's tourism and
hospitality industries, to help them understand the exact nature
of the opportunities surrounding the 2012 Games and how they and
their businesses can engage with them. The website will be supported
by regular e-newsletters which will be cascaded throughout the
industry via the existing network of regional and national tourism
organisations and trade associations, and which will promote specific
business and marketing opportunities as the Games draw near.
On 26 January 2010, DCMS, VisitBritain and Visit London will
be hosting a seminar for the tourism industry to identify marketing
opportunities which flow from the hosting of the Games. The seminar
will give practical advice to private, public and voluntary sector
businesses on the regulations affecting capitalising on the Games
and the opportunities which can be exploited.
(iii) Distribution: We are providing a number of platforms
to help the industry to directly reach Games decision-makers and
Developing links between Games ticketing services
and tourism networks to ensure that every visitor to the Games
has direct access to quality tourism products.
Helping the industry to aggregate and/or tailor existing
tourism products and packages that will cater for the very specific
needs of Games visitors, and in turn passing details of these
products/packages up towards the top of the 2012 Games supply
(iv) International marketing: We are designing all
of our marketing activities for the next three years around the
2012 Games to inspire more international visitors to explore Britain.
Specific examples include:
Introducing a clear marketing narrative and a logo
device related to the 2012 Games which will be used across all
our own campaigns and by our UK and overseas travel trade partners.
A standalone campaign, in partnership with one of
the global 2012 Games sponsors, to tackle potential displacement
Facilitating an additional £1.6 billion of positive
international media coverage of destination Britain.
According to Nielson Media Research, the 2012 Games will
be seen by 4.7 billion people around the world. That is equivalent
to approximately 70% of the global viewing population. This spotlight
and the surrounding coverage it generates is a chance to fast-track
some destination brand management that would otherwise take decades.
In readiness for this VisitBritain is concentrating on three key
areas which we believe will significantly help boost the UK's
image as a visitor destination:
(i) Brand and partnerships: We are seeking to enhance
the global appeal and reach of the Britain brand message through:
Working directly with some of the Olympic and Paralympic
Games global sponsors to facilitate content of Britain as a destination
throughout their international activation programmes.
Joining forces with other public diplomacy bodies
(FCO, UKTI, British Council etc) on a number of international
programmes that project Britain as a great country to visit, work
with and invest in.
(ii) Media: We are taking advantage of the mass media
interest in the 2012 Games to reach new customers and raise the
destination's profile, through:
Providing Games mediaboth rights-holders and
unaccreditedwith destination content (footage, imagery,
story ideas etc) for use in their coverage.
Incorporating Games-related messages into travel/lifestyle
media campaigns in all our key markets;
Working with the London agencies to provide a UK-wide media centre
and service in central London during the Games.
(iii) Online Content: We are capitalising on the global
trend towards "living life through a screen" to amplify
the biggest influence on travel decisions, ie word of mouth, by:
Creating exciting new "Britain" online content
inspired by the 2012 Games which can be accessed and forwarded
without distortion through the full range of ever-evolving online
Forming partnerships with some of the world's leading
social networking sites to cost-effectively deliver this content
to a mass international audience.
Research from Nation Brands Index (NBI) reveals that Britain's
reputation for welcome needs to be improved. With the eyes of
the world on Britain in 2012, how we welcome our visitors will
be crucial to the long-term success of the Games to London and
Britain. Because of this VisitBritain is working with partners
across government and the tourism and hospitality industries to
significantly improve the visitor experience throughout every
stage of the customer journey. Examples include:
The VisitBritain-chaired "Welcome to Britain"
project which is directing the industry to make improvements wherever
A push for easier, less expensive and more user-friendly
visa application processes, especially in key growth markets such
as China and India.
Individual improvement programmes for each of the
UK's top 10 ports of entry.
Numerous initiatives by People 1st and the National
Skills Academy to develop skills.
Identifying and sharing examples of best practice
around the UK, such as local "greeters" schemes, training
modules, toolkits etc.
Introducing better guidance for visitors on how to
recognise and select quality tourism businesses and products.
4. VisitBritain's Olympic tourism-related ambitions
The following are some of the ways we will be measuring the
success of our Games-related work:
Two new partners secured delivering £1.5 million
revenue and value in kind.
Improved perceptions of welcome as measured by CAA
survey and NBI.
Industry engagement, including visits to/registrations
Visitor numbers and regional spread, including Games-time
visitors beyond London.
Brand partnerships in place that attract more than
£7.5 million in-kind support by 2012.
20 million unique visitors annually to VisitBritain.com
Average length of stay on visitbritain.com doubled
to an average of 3.5 minutes by 2012.
On-track to the delivery of the Oxford Economics forecast
of £2.1 billion.
A stronger position for Britain in the Latin American
markets, especially Brazil resulting from agreement in place with
Brazilian tourism authorities to knowledge share around 2012-16.
Britain's destination ranking improved by an average
of one place (IPS).
Britain's ranking as a convention destination improved
from 5th to 3rd place by 2012.
With just under three years to go until the Games there is
still a great deal of detail to be developed. However we hope
this submission demonstrates our grasp of the opportunity and
the huge amount of activity already being undertaken by VisitBritain
to support the 2012 Games and help maximise the legacy.