BVEP calls for clarity on Visit Britain's tourism forecast

The Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP) has called for Visit Britain to elaborate on how business tourism will be promoted as part of its three-year strategy to grow inbound business tourism to Britain.

BVEP's chairman Michael Hirst
BVEP's chairman Michael Hirst

BVEP welcomed the inclusion of plans for business tourism, launched yesterday by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, the Rt Hon Maria Miller MP.

However, Michael Hirst, chairman of the BVEP, said the proposals lacked substance. "It is only right that business tourism features as part of Visit Britain’s marketing strategy. This is something we have pushed for since their withdrawal from the sector in 2011. However with no new resources and with no intention to create a dedicated team, it remains to be seen how this will be accomplished."

Visit Britain acknowledges that business tourism is a significant component of international tourism, with events boosting Britain’s image overseas and encouraging future leisure stays.

International business visits and spend are growing at a faster rate than other visitor segments – seeing a 2% growth in 2012 in volume, the best year since 2008.

Hirst added: "The implementation of their plans will need to be carefully co-ordinated amongst the various stakeholders. There needs to be much more detail as to how these proposals will be undertaken to achieve the desired outcome of increased business visits and spend to Britain from overseas markets."

Visit Britain plans to build on the work already being carried out by other national tourist boards, industry stakeholders and government agencies such as UKTI. It will continue to provide support for major bids and its overseas offices will provide insights, trade engagement, lead generation and promotion of business extender travel.

BVEP pointed to its 'Events are Great' promotion – campaigned for and secured through the efforts of the Britain for Events campaign and the BVEP – as an example of proactive engagement. Hirst also called for detailed plans to target individual cultures.

He said: "Opportunities for Visit Britain to work with UKTI and the FCO, to promote trade through tourism, are to be considered, including the development of a promotional toolkit tailored to a business audience. Individual market plans for countries such as Brazil, China, USA, France and Germany include more specific targets and action plans to promote business tourism." 

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