Tourism agency taps into burgeoning ‘friends and relatives’ market witnessing ten year record levels

2013-03-04 — / — The likes of Wimbledon, Westfield UK and Historic Royal Palaces are in India this week, encouraged by the emergence of the country as a major player in terms of visits to friends and loved ones across Britain. They are there as part of VisitBritain’s India Mission 2013.

The national tourism agency is hosting its annual trade event in Mumbai and New Delhi, and comes after Prime Minster David Cameron’s visit to the country. The Mission provides UK suppliers with the opportunity to meet over 200 agents from across India, promoting British holiday destinations, tour packages and attractions from across the UK, highlighting the value-for-money deals, family attractions and unique experiences available to Indian visitors in the lead up to their popular summer break.

Latest figures for India suggest that 2012 witnessed a record numbers of ‘visits to friends and relatives’ as well as general ‘holiday’ trips. With the first three quarters of 2012 showing a 10 and 6 per cent rise respectively. Britain has always been a major beneficiary of outbound travel from this market with the best performing quarter being April-June 2012 (the major holiday season for Indians) where 145,000 visits took place. This represents a 10 year high, with expectations that 2013 will continue this growth.

In 2011, 355,000 Indian residents visited Britain spending £318 million, almost 100% more visits than in 2000, with a substantial number of bookings made through trade. By 2020 Britain’s ambition is to attract an additional 150,000 visits and this growth will deliver an ambitious 40 per cent increase, equating to 500,000 trips.

Keith Beecham, Overseas Network Director, VisitBritain said: “The popularity of visits to loved ones and family members played a huge part in tailoring the content for our 2013 India mission. We will help foster relations with key trade who can help us achieve our ambitious targets for visitors from the region. We’re putting family friendly British businesses in front of decision makers, generating growth from a high spending region.

“Our research also suggests that potential visitors want to see more than just London and the Indian Trade mission will look to educate the industry, making sure they know all there is to know about Britain.”

The British High Commissioner, Sir James Bevan KCMG said, “The links between the British and Indian tourist industries, so enthusiastically promoted by VisitBritain, make a significant contribution to the special partnership between the UK and India that Prime Minister Cameron described on his recent visit. For many of us, tourism is the front door to each other’s countryside, culture and character. The UK offers a feast of opportunity for Indian travellers, be it as a family holiday, as a weekend stopover after a business trip, or a surprise getaway with all the luxuries of the high life. Our friends from India will enjoy a warm welcome, a chance to see things both familiar and unexpected, or simple indulgence in creature comforts in a home away from home.”

About VisitBritain
VisitBritain is Britain’s national tourism agency, responsible for marketing Britain overseas. We work with thousands of organisations in the UK and overseas to market Britain successfully to visitors from around the world. We also work to promote the tourism industry within the UK itself.

We work in partnership with the Government, the industry and our strategic partners in London, England, Scotland and Wales to promote Britain in 35 key overseas markets.

Our network of international offices is supported by our London-based marketing, commercial, research and policy teams, who in turn are backed up by experts in IT, financial management and other essential disciplines.

We also provide UK government with advice on tourism policy and raise awareness of the significance of tourism to the UK economy. We are particularly working towards showcasing Britain and maximising the tourism benefits in the run-up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and beyond.

Our grant in aid received from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is approximately £32.6 million for 2010/11.

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For more information contact:
David Leslie.

Mark Di-Toro
Press Officer, VisitBritain
t:+44 (0)20 7578 1098
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