Overseas visitors targeted as VisitBritain and Bristol Airport launch regional tourism project

September 29, 2017

A three-year partnership to promote the South West to overseas visitors has been formed by Bristol Airport and VisitBritain, the UK’s national tourism agency.

Campaigns promoting the South West will highlight its globally famous tourist attractions including Stonehenge and the World Heritage city of Bath, as well as its stunning countryside and coastline and Bristol’s street art scene.

More than a million overseas tourists visit the South West every year. But many arrive via London and tend to spend only a day or two in the region.

Encouraging visitors to fly into Bristol Airport and, preferably stay for longer, would trigger a major boost to the regional economy with an estimated 5,000 jobs across the region already supported by tourism.

The joint marketing fund, which will initially focus on France, will also offer a chance for destination management organisations across the region to get involved. 

Destination Bristol will have a co-ordinating role in bringing together local knowledge and compelling content to ensure campaigns stand out in the competitive international tourism market.                           

In its first year the partnership will work with airlines to build on the strong existing network from Bristol Airport – the largest serving the South West and one of the UK’s fastest growing – and which operates scheduled services to 13 French cities. 

More than half the 120-plus destinations served non-stop from Bristol are not directly linked from any other airport in the region.

Bristol Airport business development director Nigel Scott said: “By teaming up with VisitBritain we aim to spread the word to potential international visitors about the wonderful part of the world on our doorstep. 

“Research tells us that visitors flying directly into the South West stay in the region for longer and spend more than those who arrive through other gateways, which is good news for tourist attractions, hotels, restaurants and other local businesses. 

“With Bristol Airport serving as the sole entry point to the South West for over 60 European cities, this partnership is a great opportunity for the whole region to work together with VisitBritain to add even more value to the visitor economy.”

VisitBritain commercial director Carol Dray added: “Tourism is one of the UK’s most valuable export industries, worth £127bn annually to the economy.

“Increasing regional connectivity not only makes it easier for visitors to see more of Britain and the South West, it boosts economic growth and helps keep us an attractive destination in this fiercely competitive global market.”

More than £160m has been spent on new infrastructure and facilities at Bristol Airport since 2010 to take account of a rapid rise in passenger numbers – which are on course to reach a record 8m this year.

The airport, owned by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, is now updating its masterplan to consider how best to meet growing demand for air travel to and from the South West over the next two decades, taking into account the views of customers, employees, neighbours and other stakeholders to shape its future.




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