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Thursday, 04 May, 2017, 14 : 30 PM [IST]

Third edition of ExploreGB records over 400 overseas buyers

The third edition of ExploreGB, the annual global trade marketplace of VisitBritain saw more than 400 international buyers from 40 countries converge at Brighton Centre to negotiate business deals with 430 travel industry suppliers from across England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Buyers from Britain’s largest and most valuable inbound visitor markets including the USA, Germany, France, Canada and Australia attended the event along with important growth markets like China, India, Italy and the Gulf countries.

From India, one of the important markets for growth for VisitBritain, 18 buyers attended the event.

Tracey Crouch, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport, Tourism and Heritage, UK, said, “ExploreGB is one of the highlights of the tourism industry calendar and a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase world-class attractions from all over the country to a global audience. The UK attracted a record number of visitors to our shores in 2016 and this event will help us build on that success and promote the best of Britain abroad.”

Sally Balcombe, Chief Executive, VisitBritain, said, “ExploreGB gives UK tourism suppliers and local destinations a valuable opportunity to get their products and services in front of hundreds of international buyers and do business with a broad range of global markets. International delegates will return home in no doubt about the outstanding quality of tourism products and experiences available across our nations and regions and that Britain is open for business.”

More than 41,000 business meetings were undertaken across the twoday event. Buyers also got a chance to experience tourism products and services first-hand with pre-and-post event trips to destinations across the UK. Delegates also attended seminars and networking events to boost their knowledge of Britain as a tourist destination.

At ExploreGB, VisitBritain showcased its global #OMGB (Oh My GREAT Britain) ‘Home of Amazing Moments’ campaign to delegates during the event to promote the diversity of experiences that visitors can get in Britain. It is part of the UK Government’s GREAT campaign to promote what makes Britain a great place to visit, study, invest and do business.

Latest figures from VisitBritain show that 2016 was a record-breaker for inbound tourism to the UK with 37.3 million visits, up 3% on 2015 with visitors spending GBP 22.2 billion, matching 2015’s record spend. The figures showed growth in 2016 from North America with 4.3 million visits, up 7% on 2015. There were a record 25.3 million visits from the EU in 2016, up 4% on 2015. Comparing growth during the last six years shows there were 7.5 million more visits in 2016 than 2010, an increase of 25%. VisitBritain’s forecast shows that this growth is set to continue with 38.8 million visits this year, while spending by overseas visitors is predicted to reach GBP 23.9 billion.

VisitBritain has announced that ExploreGB is to be held in NewcastleGateshead in 2018. Balcombe said, “We are delighted to be bringing ExploreGB to NewcastleGateshead and the north east of England in 2018. From its modern arts scene, buzzing quayside and lively cafe´s to its striking architecture and first-class conference facilities, NewcastleGateshead is a fantastic destination and a great base for our international buyers to start their tours across Britain. As the city will also be hosting the Great Exhibition of the North 2018 it will certainly be the moment to drive visits and international growth from tourism to the regions.”

Indian Buyer Feedback

Lokesh Bettaiah, Managing Director, Triway Travels Pvt. Ltd.
It was my first time to ExploreGB which was a very well organised and was a productive event. The familiarisation trip to Lake District and Manchester was very informative. I met key suppliers who handle sports, outdoor and luxury travel to the UK.

Jay Bhatia, Director, Tulsidas Khimji Holidays
This was my second visit to ExploreGB and I gained great insights about new products in London and beyond. The mobile app of ExploreGB was also very effective for networking with suppliers.

Shalini Jain, Director-Operations, Click2Travel
It was an excellent event organised professionally. I met new suppliers at ExploreGB and I’m doing a group to Manchester now. Though I have been promoting the UK since long, but this opportunity will assist me in selling it even better.

Ameesh Desai, Director, Beleast Travels Pvt. Ltd.
ExploreGB was a very well organised event where there were quality suppliers exhibiting their products. I met people who were focused on promoting and selling Britain in India. My area of interest of doing business was covered thoroughly in the event and I have already started selling Britain as a destination to Indian audiences.

Assem Hattangadi, Business Development & Strategy, TravelLibro
This was my maiden visit to ExploreGB. The UK is one of my favourite destinations and visiting Lake District was the highlight. I made some key contacts and plan to promote new travel experiences. The event was hectic but very well-organised.

Ajay Nischal, Manager Sales – Tours & MICE, Air Travel Bureau Ltd
It was quiet good experience at ExploreGB. I interacted with more than a couple of quality suppliers at the event. The only area of concern was the MICE suppliers. If MICE suppliers can be increased for future events that will add value to the event and interest the MICE travel agents at a great extent.

Sarah Stewart, Chief Executive, Destination Management and Marketing Organisation, NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said, “We’re very excited to be working in partnership with VisitBritain to bring its flagship event to NewcastleGateshead. It will be a fantastic opportunity to not only showcase NewcastleGateshead, and the wider region, to international buyers but will also be an opportune time to present Great Exhibition of the North and the full programme of art, culture and innovation which will commence in the following months. Delegates will be able to explore the huge variety of experiences NewcastleGateshead has to offer tourism visitors, and will see how these experience will be amplified through Great Exhibition of the North in summer 2018.”

The event gives UK tourism suppliers and local destinations a valuable opportunity to get their products and services in front of hundreds of international buyers and do business with global markets, boosting visitor numbers and spreading the economic benefits of tourism across the UK’s nations and regions.

Previous destinations to host ExploreGB are Liverpool in 2015 and Ascot in 2014.

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