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Thursday, 27 December, 2018, 13 : 30 PM [IST]
VisitBritain to launch mono destination itineraries beyond London for Indian market
Disha Shah Ghosh | Mumbai


 As part of a dedicated strategy to divert visitor traffic from India beyond London, VisitBritain will launch mono itineraries to regional gateways and the English countryside in 2019. Currently, India is its number 2 value market, globally. 

“We have repeat visitors from India experiencing the tried and tested itineraries in London, since 68% of them undertake dedicated city tours. Our strategy in India for 2019 is to launch mono itineraries to divert traffic to the English countryside. The direct flights into the regional gateways of Edinburgh, Newcastle, Glasgow, Manchester and Birmingham will help fuel growth beyond London through open jaw itineraries. Visitors may fly to one of these destinations and depart from London,” said Tricia Warwick, Director, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, Visit Britain. She was speaking to TravelBiz Monitor on the sidelines of a Tech Summit in Mumbai.  

Moreover, with England and Wales hosting the Cricket World Cup 2019, Warwick believes their strategy is apt to attract visitors to destinations beyond London. “We are seeing tremendous amount of interest from the Indian market for the Cricket World Cup 2019; and therefore we are doing a lot of PR work with the BCCI, ICC and airline partners. 2019 also marks the centenary of British Airways, and we are maximising the noise about Great Britain with these two activities.” 

As part of this exercise, she said that VisitBritain will undertake co-operative marketing activities with tour operators like Thomas Cook and Cox & Kings, online travel agent Wego and telecom service provider, Jio in the Indian market. “Our focus through these joint marketing strategies would be to spread the word about unexplored regions in Britain and amply visitor traffic beyond London. Their brochures will play a crucial role in this regard since 40% business from India to VisitBritain is through GIT itineraries that are still London-centric.” 

Specifically for the Cricket World Cup, VisitBritain is devising itineraries around the match schedule. “A part of the itinerary would focus on cricket like the Oval in London, Old Trafford in Greater Manchester. This will allow visitors to discover and experience locations they wouldn’t have considered otherwise. We are encouraging people to move towards the country side. Destinations like Birmingham, Scotland and Manchester, we are noticing the number an increase in number of direct connections and sport relationships.”

She believes that time is opportune to move beyond London and discover the multitude of offerings Britain has in store. Therefore, VisitBritain is closely working with Marketing Manchester, Visit Wales, Scotland, London & Partners, etc. 

In 2017, there was a 35% growth in Indian visitations to the UK. “However, this year the growth has slowed down. The spike in visitors during the World Cup in 2019 will be small in the overall scheme of things. I believe it will encourage more visitors to come to Britain since the tournament will be televised globally. We are even doing PR around the televised to get the message about Britain in the match commentaries.” 

The ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 will be held from May 30 to July 14.



 
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