VisitBritain, the national tourism agency for Great Britain, invites travellers from the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) countries to ‘Come see things differently’ by showcasing more exciting and unexpected experiences only found in Britain.
Underway from November until early 2024, the campaign uses a mix of inspiring destination content and short films showcasing Britain’s ‘wild coastlines’, drawing attention to seaside locations within a few hours’ reach of major city centres, ‘countryside adventures’, promoting its diverse landscapes and ‘vibrant cities’, highlighting Britain’s bustling urban life and contemporary culture. The campaign has been developed based on VisitBritain’s research into motivations for travel now, with discovering new and surprising experiences high on the wish list for its target audiences and markets.
The campaign is a progression from VisitBritain’s ‘Spilling the tea on Great Britain’ campaign which was launched earlier in 2023 and encouraged visitors to explore more of Great Britain’s nations and regions especially during non-peak travel seasons.
VisitBritain’s Deputy Director APMEA CNEA, Carol Madisson said:
“The GCC is an incredibly important tourism market for Britain and we are delighted to launch this new phase of our major brand campaign, to drive urgency for GCC travellers to visit now, while showcasing the breadth of exciting experiences and destinations across Britain. Whether it’s the thrill of coastal and countryside adventures, such as riding the waves on our wild coastlines, or relaxing in remote landscapes, or exploring our bustling, vibrant cities through street art tours, indulgent afternoon teas and shopping sprees, our campaign shows that Britain has so much to explore.
As well as inspiring international visitors to discover more of Britain’s nations and regions we’re working with industry partners in the GCC to convert that desire to visit into confirmed bookings for travel now. Through this campaign we look forward to welcoming more visitors from the Gulf to experience Britain’s exciting tourism offers well into 2024 and beyond.”
An integral part of the ‘Come See Things Differently’ campaign is its advertising elements that use an integrated mix of channels including cinema in Saudi Arabia, branded content across social media including Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, and digital billboards along high-traffic areas such as Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai.
Additionally, VisitBritain will continue to work with its premier trade partner Wego to expand the campaign’s reach throughout 2024 and encourage travel bookings for the upcoming winter and spring seasons.
The recent introduction of the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme, combined with the region’s strong airline connections to the UK, is set to further enhance the ease of travel for GCC nationals visiting Britain. The ETA will cost £10 and allow visitors to visit the UK multiple times over a two-year period. Qatar is the first country to move on to the ETA scheme and Qatari nationals can now apply and will require an ETA to travel to the UK on or after 15 November 2023. From 01 February 2024, the scheme will be introduced for nationals of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
Since the Covid pandemic there has been continued recovery in tourism from the GCC to the UK. VisitBritain is forecasting that spending by GCC visitors in the UK will return to 2019 levels by 2024 and visitation numbers to return by 2025.
The Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries are very important inbound tourism markets for the UK, its second most valuable market for visitor spending, when all six countries are combined. The latest official full year statistics are for 2022. These showed that there were 791,000 visits from the GCC to the UK, with those visitors spending £2 billion during their stays. Visitors from the GCC spent an average of £2,578 on their trips to the UK in 2022, more than three times the all visitor average. They also stayed longer in the UK, 16 nights, compared to an all market average of eight.
The latest available statistics are for January to June 2023. These show that from January to June 2023 there were 411,000 visits from the GCC to the UK with those visitors spending £945 million. Flight bookings from the Middle East to the UK have been showing strong recovery and are currently tracking at about 93% of 2019 levels.
VisitBritain’s research shows that visitors from the GCC enjoy dining in Britain’s wonderful restaurants, shopping, sightseeing at its famous monuments and buildings, visiting parks and gardens, museums and art galleries – all of which Britain caters for in abundance. VisitBritain’s consumer sentiment research also shows travellers from the GCC are keen to roam around, visiting multiple destination types on their next international trip, as well as visiting large cities.
VisitBritain’s ‘See Things Differently’ campaign is part of the UK Government’s GREAT campaign.