VisitBritain ‘See Things Differently’: If it ain’t broke…

visitbritainTourists. Love ’em or loathe ’em there is no denying they bring in plenty of cash to the UK; cash which was sorely missed during the Covid pandemic and cash that national tourism agency VisitBritain is desperate see return.

But, of course, cash doesn’t come cheap so the organisation is investing nearly £10m in the first phase of an international campaign designed to bring those tourists back.

VisitBritain believes that spending in the UK in 2023 will total £29.5bn, up 4% on the all-time spending high of £28.4bn in post-pandemic 2019, with 35.1 million inbound visits, 86% of 2019 levels.

The first phase of the “See Things Differently” activity will run until early spring and focus on markets including the US, Canada, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, France, Germany and Spain.

In Europe and the Gulf, the spot “Spilling the Tea on GB” will be released, playing on Britain’s love of tea through destination images, short films, and cut-out characters depicting everything from surfing and graffiti to hunting the Loch Ness Monster, designed to show visitors that “whatever your cup of tea, we’ve got it”.

In Canada and the US, the ‘Fake (Br)it Till You Make It’ campaign will highlight the “richness of Britain’s regional diversity”.

VisitBritain chief executive Patricia Yates said: “We know there is pent-up demand for travel and that tourism is also a fiercely competitive global industry. Our priority is to build on the recovery we have seen, competing hard in markets where we are seeing strong growth, tapping in to motivations for travel now to drive bookings.

“All eyes are on Britain this year and by telling the story of our dynamic destinations and diverse culture, along with a warm British welcome, we’re inspiring visitors to discover more, stay longer and explore year-round, supporting local businesses and economies.”

So, what is the consensus around the Decision Marketing office?

Well, to be fair, we are hardly in the target market but it is always interesting to see what our country considers its own charms to be. But with all of this country’s rich heritage and history, graffiti would not exactly be top of our list; or surfing, or promoting the Loch Ness Monster for that matter.

Funnily enough, according to VisitBritain’s own website, the top ten ten tourist attractions are the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Kew Gardens, St Paul’s Cathedral, Chester Zoo, Windermere Boat Cruises, Flamingo Land Theme Park and Zoo, Yorkshire, Stonehenge, London Zoo, and Drayton Manor Theme Park. Theme parks notwithstanding, that’s not a bad list to start with…

So, you have to ask, why, oh why are they promoting graffiti? Is it just that heritage and history are too boring – or worse, too unPC – these days? If it ain’t broke, why fix it?

We get the sentiment to “see things differently” but the execution needs seeing to.

Decision Marketing Adometer: A “where’s the scenery?” 6 out of 10

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