An Ipsos MORI survey of 15,000 potentiaL visitors commissioned by VisitBritain found those that recall seeing the campaign are twice as likely to visit than those that did not, 23 per cent compared with 11 per cent.
It is estimated that this equates to 422,000 additional visitors in the 24 months from March 2012 , spending an average of £600 per visit. The total, £200m, is about eight times the £22.5m invested in the campaign.
The global campaign launched in 2012 to exploit increased interest in Britain in the year of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics. A series of ads showcased the heritage, culture and countryside Britain offers in order to boost inward investment and tourism numbers.
Joss Croft, marketing director of VisitBritain, says future activity will continue to “sweat these existing assets” with campaigns running predominantly on digital channels.
The tourism body is in discussions with the producers of Downton Abbey about using imagery from the ITV show in global activity , which has enjoyed huge success around the world particularly in the US where it and its stars have won several Emmy and Golden Globe awards. Croft says the association will help promote Britain’s heritage and culture.
Visit Britain has previously used James Bond and The Beatles in campaigns.
Croft denies the dearth of attractions compared to those seen in 2012 will hinder efforts to attract visitors in the coming years, pointing to the country’s hosting of golf’s Ryder Cup and the Commonwealth Games in 2014 in addition to the usual “blue ribbon events” such as Wimbledon.
“I don’t hold that view [that there is a lack of reasons to visit compared to 2012]. There is so much of Britain that we need to profile. So much that people are unaware of [in terms of countryside, culture and history].”