UK tourist businesses have flown to India to target the £6.5b Indian tourist market.
The 2012 India Mission, in partnership with VisitBritain, hopes to capitalise on the fast-growing market and improve Britain’s standing as the 11th most-visited country for Indian tourists. About 250 key Indian buyers are meeting with the UK trade delegation in New Delhi and Mumbai from 20 to 22 February.
Indians took nearly 10 million outbound visits in 2010, with Britain receiving just 371,000.
VisitBritain research estimates annual visits to the UK from India could almost double by 2020.
The mission comes on the heels of a VisitBritain ad campaign in India’s two largest cities. The £25m campaign, launched last month, bought billboard and taxi-cab ads in Mumbai and Delhi. Indian cinemagoers saw a 60-second VisitBritain commercial before the latest Bollywood movies in 120 cinemas.
Organisations involved in the mission include Marylebone Cricket Club, Thistle and Guoman, Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum and Historic Royal Palaces.
Head of the mission and VisitBritain strategy and communication director Patricia Yates said trade missions were essential to help grow the UK’s inbound tourism economy.
“Britain accounted for only 3% of all outbound trips from India in 2010, yet while this still generated nearly £363m for the UK economy, there is clearly scope for us to do more in order to attract a greater share of a market worth £6.5b a year,” she said.
Indians already had positive perceptions of Britain though its culture, heritage and sport, Yates added. “We must be able to capitalise on the strong interest that already exists and do everything we can to encourage a greater number of visitors.”Record number of holiday visits to UK during 2011 >>
Edinburgh Tourism Strategy aims to increase visitor numbers and spend by 2020 >>By Andy Morton
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