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The journalists will enjoy a royal reception at Buckingham Palace

World’s media tour Britain to support tourism through economic downturn

Britain’s tourism industry welcomes the world’s media to Buckingham Palace on 10 June 2009 as part of a Global Media Tour to encourage consumers to continue to travel despite the economic downturn. 70 of the world’s most influential travel writers and broadcasters from 31 countries will enjoy itineraries that highlight Britain’s new and value-for-money attractions – and the country’s easy accessibility for a short break.

The journalists will enjoy a royal reception at Buckingham Palace organised by national tourism agency VisitBritain and hosted by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. Part of His Royal Highness’s 88th birthday engagements, and following his involvement in a similar initiative during the foot-and-mouth outbreaks of 2001, the reception recognises the appeal of Britain’s royal heritage and includes a tour by the Royal Collection of the State Rooms – this year open to the public from 26 July to 30 September. The reception will be followed by a ‘meet the media’ event at the National Theatre, where the nations and regions of Britain will showcase destinations, attractions and experiences, before journalists head off around London and the rest of the country for up to four days.

Sandie Dawe, chief executive of VisitBritain, says: “The economic downturn is affecting global travel and, for the UK, has meant a 13 per cent fall in inbound tourism visits in the first quarter of 2009. With the industry offering great value flights and accommodation deals, the global media tour will help businesses through a challenging year ahead and draw potential visitors’ attention to all that Britain offers for a holiday. The trips will also remind consumers that Britain has never been more affordable for them to travel right now as a weaker pound means great exchange rates.

“We’re thrilled that The Duke of Edinburgh is able to help us once again remind the world of some of the unique appeals of Britain, before our guests head out to enjoy their trips. With nearly half (43%) of all visits here being short breaks of 1-3 nights, itineraries are designed to give a flavour of the destination and show how Britain’s size can be an advantage – no destination is too far. Journalists will be able to quickly produce reports that will reach millions of potential visitors and inspire them to choose Britain over rival destinations and ‘staycations’.”

The tour is part of VisitBritain’s wider ‘value’ initiative for 2009 with campaigns launched in Europe and the USA in April, as well as a major promotion at the start of the year with British Airways in Asia-Pacific markets. It also represents VisitBritain’s contribution to World Trade Week (8-12 June), an initiative to highlight the importance of global trade in creating jobs and growth, organised by the Departments for International Development (DFID) and Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR).

Four group trips – from the USA and Asia-Pacific markets – will visit the East, South West and North West of England, and Scotland. The royal theme continues in Scotland where attractions and destinations include Edinburgh, the Royal Yacht Britannia, as well as Glasgow and the Glengoyne Distillery to celebrate Scotland’s Homecoming. In London, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Whitechapel Gallery, Little Venice and Borough market will be explored while American journalists are heading to the coast, gardens and attractions of the South West including Boscastle, Dartmoor, Dartmouth, Exeter, the Lost Gardens of Heligan, Newquay, Padstow, Tintagel and Torquay. More Americans will be visiting the East of England: Norwich and the north Norfolk coast around ‘chelsea-on-sea’ Burnham Market and Brancaster, punting on the Cambridge ‘Backs’, Duxford, Bury St Edmunds and Lavenham.

Journalists will be hosted at Manchester’s Old Trafford football stadium, Urbis, the Lake District with its Beatrix Potter connections and ‘Britain’s Favourite View’ Wastwater, and the stately homes and gardens of Levens and Holker Halls. Wales will welcome Brazilian and two European publications where they will explore Cardiff, the Brecon Beacons National Park, Abergavenny, St Fagan’s, the Welsh Whisky Company and the National Showcaves.

Journalists from Europe will mostly take part in individual trips: for instance, Le Figaro (France) and Germany’s Bild are coming to London while others explore Rye, the food trails of Romney Marsh and the Chapel Down Winery, Bodiam Castle and the garden of Great Dixter. Tenby and Pembrokeshire’s coastal footpath, Bath, Bristol, Whitby, Scarborough, York, Stratford, Stonehenge, Lacock Abbey and Cornwall are also on the list.

Tourism supports 2.7 million jobs, 200,000 SMEs and is worth £114 billion, according to an independent report by Deloitte. It could be among the first industries to lead the UK out of its recession. Barriers to entering employment in the tourism sector are low, providing a realistic new career for individuals either entering the labour market for the first time or having to search for a new job. Furthermore, adequate investment could deliver an extra 164,000 jobs and a real opportunity to grow to a £133 billion industry by 2018.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.