‘Saturation marketing will boost tourism’

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt admitted there had been underinvestment in domestic tourism marketing in the past and that the UK faces a challenge in encouraging ‘holidays at home” at the launch of a new campaign.

Jeremy Hunt

But he added that “saturation marketing” at home and abroad will help convert interest from the exposure produced by the London Olympics, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and other events to booked holidays.

Hunt said that the UK faces a “displacement” issue with some people wanting to holiday abroad because of perceived costs and crowding and added that there is a “mixed record” of tourism legacies for past Olympic hosts.

While speaking at the launch of VistEngland’s new TV campaign he said: “Countries that have tried to do tourism have been on the whole successful, for instance Canada after the Vancouver Olympics.

“But Sydney was less successful, though in fairness to them straight after the Olympics they had 9/11 and SARS [impacting on tourism].”

Hunt said: “The domestic tourism industry has never punched its weight in people’s minds for a variety of reasons” and cited cheap package holidays and budget airlines as reasons people now “think going on holiday means going abroad.”

However, he said that “there will be no escape” from the VisitEngland campaign and combined with the VisitBritain “Great Britain” activity in overseas markets, the UK will benefit from being “the best country to visit”.

He did stress that the £25m investment was in a three-year strategy and the six-week TV activity will be carefully monitored to see if it works and to measure the return on investment.

One of the aims of the campaign is to generate an incremental spend of £480m by 2015.

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