08 FEB 2018: It was easy to find a “GREAT” group of VisitBritain’s tourism executives at the Spoke Club earlier this week. They were all standing in front of an illuminated red-white-and blue “GREAT” sign, part of a showpiece laced around VisitBritain’s new brand campaign

The British High Commissioner Susan le Jeune d'Allegeershecque and Britain’s national tourism agency provided invited guests in the media and trade, an opportunity to take a sneak peak of the newest digital marketing campaign,"I Travel For ... " which officially launches in Canada on February 19.

Unlike earlier campaigns that targeted destination marketing, I Travel For… focuses on six passion travelling points which are personal points of view for the traveller who wants unique experiences only found in Britain.

Gavin Landry, executive vice-president of VisitBritain’s Americas, tells Travel Industry Today, that the big driver is a psychograph survey that defines travellers as “Buzz Seekers,” for the adventurer who goes off the beaten path, and “Relaxed Explorers,” for potentially an older traveller who has been there and done that.

“There is huge potential for Britain to further establish awareness on our secondary and tertiary cities,” says Landry on the new marketing platform which draws imagery from original unedited photos and videos from real travellers.

“It’s not high polished studio finish and there is a reason behind that – we want to show the image through the lens of the consumer, the actual traveller. Travellers not tourists,” says Landry who hopes this new campaign will change any perception problems of travellers visiting Great Britain who find it difficult to list 11 places but for example can list 11 places easily in Italy.

The dynamic user-generated content emphasizes the six passion points: Meet the Locals, Food & Drink, Adventure, Discoveries, Landscape, Culture, and Unexpected, which Landry hopes will steer travellers off the beaten path taking in unique authentic experiences. In addition, the content will offer tour operators a chance to integrate new product development in rail, luxury, and food and drink.

“We are trying to integrate new product development within potentially existing itineraries or existing products so that tour operators can decide how they want to differentiate themselves,” he said citing a successful initiative called the Great West Way which starts in London and ends in Bristol but incorporates spin-off stays to places like Oxford, Bath and Stonehenge, taking in “unexpected experiences along the way” ideal for the Buzz Seeker audience.

“The hope is this campaign will last for a number of years,” he concluded.

Reasons to travel to Britain in 2018:

Bristol in England is opening a new museum, Being Brunel, in early 2018 and London’s V&A Museum is opening an outpost in Dundee, Scotland in the second half of the year.

It will be a big year for culture in Liverpool as it celebrates its 10th anniversary of being named European Capital of Culture. The city will welcome the Terracotta Warriors to the World Museum from February to October 2018.

Newcastle and Gateshead in England will host The Great Exhibition of the North, celebrating the cities’ culture, art and design from June to September.

Scotland heralds 2018 as the Year of Young People, with events including the Royal Edinburgh Tattoo and Speyside Whisky Festival.

Wales celebrates the Year of the Sea celebrating its epic coastline, fringed with rugged cliffs, wide sandy bays, and the adventures to match through themed events and celebrations. Its annual literary and arts festival, The Laugharne Weekend, is in April followed by the Festival of Voice in Cardiff in June. The Big Cheese Festival takes place in Caerphilly in June, with a Seafood Festival in Cardigan Bay in July.

The last season of Game of Thrones will be filmed in Northern Ireland, on locations including Giant's Causeway (The Iron Island) and the Dark Hedges (The King’s Road), along with the original filming locations of Winterfell.

Canadian arrivals

VisitBritain reports 651,000 visits from Canada to the UK from January to September 2017. Canadians travel more widely across the UK than other international visitors, they also stay longer and spend more, staying an average of 10 nights compared to an all market average of seven, and spending an average of £766 per visit, compared to £599 for other markets.

VisitBritain’s ‘I Travel For…’ campaign is part of the UK Government’s global GREAT Britain campaign, which showcases the very best of what Britain has to offer as a place to visit, study and do business.

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Ilona Kauremszky

A regular contributor to Travel Industry Today, Ilona is a prize winning journalist whose writing pursuits have taken her around the globe.

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