VisitBritain is taking the opportunity to promote ‘destination Britain’ and inspire travel from GCC during the Qatar World Cup and beyond.
VisitBritain’s latest consumer sentiment research shows strong pent-up demand for travel from the GCC with valuable opportunities to influence destination choice and bookings. Flight bookings to the UK from the region are also showing strong recovery, currently tracking at more than three-quarters of 2019 levels.
VisitBritain is supporting the UK Government’s programme of events running throughout the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, including The Garden of GREAT UK pavilion in Doha. Open throughout the tournament, The Garden of GREAT is a showcase of UK creativity and diversity in music, art, design, fashion and food, as well as all the exciting experiences to come and enjoy in Britain right now. Follow The Garden of GREAT on Twitter @GREATBritain and Instagram @GREATCampaign.
Research shows that visitors from the GCC already enjoy dining in Britain’s high-end restaurants, shopping, sightseeing at its famous monuments and buildings, visiting parks and gardens, museums and art galleries.
With football at the centre of events, VisiBritain is also taking the opportunity to highlight Britain’s amazing tourism offer as the ‘home of football’ across its digital and social channels, inspiring visitors to come and explore its vibrant football cities and associated visitor attractions and experiences. VisitBritain research demonstrates the increasing importance of football in driving tourism to the UK. Overseas visitors who went to a football match spent £1.4 billion across the UK in total during their trip in 2019, up 84% on the £742 million spent in 2011 when the research was last conducted.
VisitBritain’s Interim Deputy Director Carol Maddison said:
“The GCC is a very important tourism market for Britain. With the UK Government’s The Garden of GREAT and programme of events for the World Cup we have a timely and valuable opportunity to highlight our outstanding tourism offer and the amazing experiences that GCC visitors - including football fans - can only have in Britain.
“We know there is pent-up demand for travel from the GCC and we want Britain to be the destination of choice. We also want to deliver a world-class welcome. The introduction of the Electronic Travel Authorisation scheme for GCC visitors in 2023, alongside our strong airline and route connectivity, will make it even easier to visit the UK, boosting our competitive tourism offer to the region.
“We’re also very excited to be launching a new marketing campaign across the GCC early next year, showcasing the great reasons to choose Britain in a year of landmark events, set to be global tourism draws. We also continue to work closely with travel trade and partners in market to convert the inspiration to visit Britain into bookings, highlighting messages of reassurance and welcome, as part of the World Cup and beyond.”
VisitBritain will be rolling out a new GREAT Britain marketing campaign across the GCC in early 2023 to drive bookings, inspiring visitors to ‘See Things Differently’ by positioning Britain as a dynamic, adventurous and inclusive destination and promoting messages of warm welcome.
The campaign will be capturing the major events in 2023 including the Coronation of King Charles III in May, with an additional Bank Holiday also now announced. Britain’s renowned heritage, royal legacy, pomp and pageantry are proven tourism draws. Research by VisitBritain earlier in 2022 also showed that exploring Britain’s history and heritage is a top motivator for international travellers keen to visit Britain, closely followed by visiting its iconic attractions.
The announcement from the UK Government in June 2022 that it will remove the visa requirement for nationals of UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and move onto the Electronic Travel Authorisation scheme when it rolls out in 2023, will also support in converting the pent-up demand for travel from the GCC into bookings. Earlier this year the UK Government also announced that nationals from Saudi Arabia and Bahrain were eligible for an Electronic Visa Waiver from 1 June 2022.
A priority for VisitBritain is also continuing to work with the travel trade and media in market to ensure they are ready to sell Britain. This includes building product knowledge and broadening travel itineraries and encouraging visitors from the GCC to explore more of Britain.
In 2019 there were 1.2 million visits from the GCC markets to the UK, with those visitors spending £2.6 billion on their trips.