Archana Sharma – New Delhi
With a view to further strengthen its position in the India market, VisitBritain, the national tourism agency of Britain, recently kick-started its B2B roadshow – the GREAT Tourism Week (GTW) in the country. GTW, which started on July 7, 2014 in Kolkata is being held across nine cities and will conclude in Chennai on August 29, 2014. This roadshow aims at providing an opportunity and a platform to the Indian travel agents and tour operators to forge business ties with over 15 UK tourism suppliers, such as British Airways, VisitManchester, Luxury Hotels Group, Elevate Holidays, Café Royal, London, etc. “There was an 11 per cent increase in tourist arrivals from India to Britain in 2013 with 375,000 Indians visiting the country. We aim to reach 5,00,000 visitors by 2020,” stated Shivali Suri, country manager, VisitBritain India adding that Indians had spent a record 441 million pounds last year in Britain showing a growth of 32 per cent. When asked about the plans to increase air connectivity from India to Britain, Shalini Sharma, manager – corporate sales, British Airways stated, “There are presently two daily flights from Delhi and Mumbai and one daily flight from Hyderabad. However, we are trying to make that double daily too, which will happen sometime in the near future.”
Apart from promoting London, the roadshow is also focusing on popularising other destinations of Britain. “Manchester is an ideal destination for all tourists due to its ideal location and connectivity with London. It has ample shopping and nightlife attractions, museums, historic landmarks, etc apart from the famed Manchester United club,” opined Mohit Batra, India representative, VisitManchester.
As for their marketing strategies, Suri stated, “We’ll be focusing on the B2B side and will provide more access through campaigns with airlines and bus carriers, like Emirates and Etihad. Also we’ll be organising FAM trips for various travel agencies,” added Suri. The Bollywood Britain app that was launched earlier this year will also be updated to enhance the image of Britain for the Indian traveller.