Wales marketing chief slams VisitBritain ‘bias’

The chief marketer for Wales has attacked VisitBritain’s branding strategy and the “over-influence” of London in formulating campaigns.

Wales Tourist Board chief executive Jonathan Jones spoke out at VisitBritain’s first annual general meeting last week. VisitBritain replaced the British Tourist Authority in April last year (MW March 27, 2003) and was also given the responsibility of marketing England domestically.

Jones questioned whether the VisitBritain brand was appropriate in all overseas markets and said: “We really need to go back and look at the way VisitBritain is doing our branding. In Europe they use the same word for England and Britain – maybe in more mature markets [branding] should be England, Wales, London and Scotland.”

He added: “There is a feeling that VisitBritain is over-influenced by large London-centric voices. London must be the premium concern, but where does that leave us? I feel that our leverage in pan- VisitBritain campaigns has been reduced.”

He pointed out that on average there are 26 million visitors a year to Britain, but only 1 million tourists travel to Wales. Kenny Boyle, VisitBritain director of international marketing, told Marketing Week that the organisation had been working on these concerns since its formation. He added that he was aware “there is a need to market the other sub-brands effectively”.

The Wales Tourist Board is reviewing its advertising and media agencies (MW March 25). The board carried out solus campaigns last year in Germany and the Netherlands.

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