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VisitBritain ramps up activity to boost visits in run-up to Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and beyond

VisitBritain is hosting 24 top travel trade buyers and media from India on tailored educational visits to Birmingham and the West Midlands region in England during the Games, giving buyers the chance to try first-hand the latest tourism products and experiences.

VisitBritain’s latest research indicates pent-up demand for international travel from India. More than two-thirds of those surveyed from India were definitely considering an international leisure trip in the next 12 months and, of those, 58% had not yet booked or decided where to go, valuable opportunities for VisitBritain to influence decision-making, destination-choice and bookings.

Patricia Yates, CEO, VisitBritain said, “India is a very important inbound tourism market and we are delighted to be hosting Indian travel trade and media during the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, showing that Britain is packed full of fresh and exciting experiences to come and enjoy right now and that our industry is ready to welcome back visitors and provide a first-class experience. We are also excited to be working with the Indian travel trade to showcase the vibrant and diverse West Midlands region in England. We know there is pent-up demand for travel from India and major sporting events are proven tourism draws. The Games, set to be watched by a global audience of hundreds of millions, will also show our hospitality and warm welcome to the world as well as Britain’s ability to host events of the highest calibre.”

Speaking on similar lines, Vishal Bhatia, Country Manager – India, VisitBritan said, “The trade and media visits, ranging from 8-to-10 days and underway from 28 July, will see the buyers attend sporting events at the Games including the opening ceremony as well as visiting destinations and attractions across the West Midlands. Experiences range from a river cruise exploring Shakespeare’s Stratford-Upon-Avon, visiting the world-famous Cadbury’s Chocolate World, an off-road 4×4 driving challenge at the Land Rover Experience, climbing the battlements of the 1000-year-old Warwick Castle to a guided tour around the UK’s largest collection of motor vehicles at the British Motor Museum.”

The Indian travel buyers also have the opportunity to meet with British tourism suppliers during the Games at a dedicated ‘Tourism Day’ on 5 August, hosted by VisitBritain in partnership with the West Midlands Growth Company as part of the programme of events at UK House, The Commonwealth Business Hub, led by the UK Government’s Department for International Trade.

The trade and media visits are part of VisitBritain’s programme of work in partnership with the West Midlands Growth Company, through the Business and Tourism Programme (BATP). VisitBritain is running a three-year programme of targeted activity in India funded through the BATP, to boost awareness of the West Midlands’ tourism offer.

Activity in India has ranged from content partnerships with media and influencers, training travel trade, hosting trade and press trips to Britain and harnessing countdown milestones and showcase events including The Queen’s Baton Relay visit to drive bookings.

In 2019 there were 692,000 visits from India to the UK with those visitors spending a record £753 million.

VisitBritain is forecasting a gradual pickup in tourism to the UK throughout 2022. Its latest inbound tourism forecast estimates 21.1 million visits overall to the UK this year, (52% of the 2019 level – when there were 40.1 million visits) and overseas visitor spending of £16.9 billion (59% of 2019 – when spending was £28.4 billion).