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VisitBritain gears up to host global online trade event ExploreGB Virtual

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VisitBritain is gearing up to host virtually its flagship global travel trade event ExploreGB, from 21 to 25 March.

ExploreGB Virtual is bringing together more than 330 global buyers to connect online and do business with 370 tourism industry suppliers and destinations from across the UK.

The five-day programme of virtual events gives destinations and suppliers the chance to promote their outstanding tourism products and services to top global buyers and forge valuable business connections.

Travel industry buyers and journalists from more than 20 countries are joining the event including from some of the UK’s largest and most valuable inbound visitor markets - Australia, China, the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) markets, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the USA.

More than 10,000 pre-scheduled one-to-one virtual business meetings will take place during the event.

Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston said: "ExploreGB is a brilliant opportunity for global buyers to see the best of Britain through our tourism suppliers. This year is set to be fantastic, with Her Majesty the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, Birmingham Commonwealth Games and Unboxed 2022, so there is something for everyone to enjoy and Britain stands ready to welcome visitors from around the world."

VisitBritain CEO Sally Balcombe said: “We are delighted to be hosting our flagship trade event, reconnecting global travel trade buyers with British suppliers to do business, highlighting the latest tourism products, experiences and innovations, as well as reinforcing the bonds of exploration, cooperation and welcome.

“With the UK fully re-open and a year of landmark events, set to be global tourism draws, ExploreGB provides a timely and valuable opportunity to work together with our travel trade partners to build back visitor spending, broaden travel itineraries and encourage travellers to stay longer and explore further.”

ExploreGB Virtual accommodates all times zones with a scheduled programme for international buyers from both short and long-haul destinations. Delegates can manage their own diaries across the event with the virtual platform open daily from 06.00-23.00 GMT. 

The online event gets underway with VisitBritain’s ‘International Business Exchange,’ for UK suppliers to meet with VisitBritain in-country experts to get the latest market insights, followed by three days of 1-2-1 virtual appointments for suppliers and international buyers. Delegates can also explore live exhibition booths with UK suppliers promoting their latest tourism products and services with buyers able to download resources.

ExploreGB builds on the recent launch of VisitBritain’s multi-million-pound global campaign to drive inbound tourism. The £10 million GREAT Britain marketing campaign ‘Welcome to Another Side of Britain,’ which launched in February, is putting the spotlight on Britain’s cities, hit hard by the absence of international visitors.

VisitBritain is also this month hosting 50 international travel trade buyers from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Nordics, the Netherlands, Spain and the US on educational visits to destinations across Britain to experience tourism products and services first-hand, and to show that businesses are ready to welcome visitors and provide a stand-out experience. 

VisitBritain’s latest forecast for 2022 estimates 21.1 million inbound visits to the UK, 52% of 2019 levels. Its forecast for overseas visitor spending in the UK this year is £16.9 billion, 59% of the spending in 2019.

Inbound tourism was worth more than £28 billion to the UK economy in 2019, its third largest service export and a major part of British trade.

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