National tourism agency VisitBritain this week launches its largest international marketing campaign for 2016 to promote memorable moments visitors can only experience on a trip to Britain.

The GREAT Britain ‘Home of Amazing Moments’ campaign formally kicks off this week across four markets, Brazil, France, Germany and the US, with a three month digital and print campaign. It aims to show people the diversity of amazing experiences, culture and countryside available across Britain, inspire them to want to be part of it, and book a trip to come and discover their own amazing moments.

The Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, who announced the launch of the US campaign at an event in New York in December, said

“Millions of people visit Britain every year, thanks to our incredible mixture of historic architecture, stunning scenery, iconic sporting events, unparalleled music scene, and world-renowned museums and galleries. 

“By asking visitors to share some of their amazing UK moments we want to build on their adventures and encourage others from abroad to experience the best of Britain.”

Research from the national tourism agency found that communicating a sense of atmosphere and emotion is a crucial element in attracting overseas visitors. While Britain was seen as offering great cultural sights for example museums and galleries, it was considered less strong on communicating the promise of emotive and immersive experiences.

The campaign’s first phase drives people to a VisitBritain website www.omgb.com populated with images, cinemagraphs and videos of amazing moments that can be experienced in Britain.  There is also a 30-second film to launch the campaign on VisitBritain’s Facebook and Instagram sites http://en.omgb.com/post/136844720054/discover-the-home-of-amazing-moments-great. Visitors to the site will be invited to share this content through their own social media channels using the hashtag #OMGB (Oh My GREAT Britain), and by doing so will have the chance to win a holiday to Britain. The campaign will also use social media influencers, who will be sharing their own amazing moments from recent trips to Britain.

The second phase gets underway in April this year and asks visitors to upload images of their own memorable moments and experiences from their holidays in Britain using the hashtag #OMGB, some of which will be shared across VisitBritain’s Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.  VisitBritain is a frontrunner in the digital space for national tourist boards, ranking first among key competitors with more than million Facebook fans, 300,000 Twitter followers and more than 175,000 followers on Instagram.

Research by VisitBritain published in November 2015 showed the powerful influence social media has in positioning Britain as a destination of choice for international visitors, with 89% of those surveyed having used social media at some stage of their holiday. Also, almost 70% of all respondents said content posted online by friends made them want to visit a destination.

The campaign also builds on improving perceptions of how welcoming Britain is considered. Latest research shows that the percentage of international visitors who said they felt extremely welcome in Britain has more than doubled in the last five years.

VisitBritain Marketing Director Joss Croft said: 

“From feeling the frost in the air as morning mist creeps over Hadrian’s Wall or the whistle of the wind in your ears as Europe’s fastest zip line whisks you over Snowdonia, from the roar of a football crowd to the briny tang of sashimi-fresh mackerel from a Scottish fishing boat, we want to showcase those moments when you’re part of something incredible and communicate the feeling of being there.

“We know that our audiences want to be part of fun, innovative and immersive experiences and we want to share these amazing moments to inspire even more people to put Britain at the top of their list as the ‘must-go-now’ destination.”

As well as the market specific campaigns, there is also a global competition kicking off from Tuesday 19 January to win a trip to Britain with a smaller media campaign running in VisitBritain’s priority nurture markets including South Korea, Indonesia, South Africa, Mexico and Singapore.

A ‘toolkit’ has also been sent out this week to travel trade industry across Britain including destination management organisations about how to engage in the campaign and to upload local examples of amazing moments and experiences to promote the whole of Britain with examples of how to use the #OMGB hosted on VisitBritain’s corporate site.

Overall the campaign aims to reach more than 100 million people.

The US, France and Germany are Britain’s largest and most valuable inbound visitor markets, making up 30% of all inbound visits in 2014 and 27% of spend.  Brazil is Britain’s 2nd largest emerging visitor market and contributed 0.9% of all visits to Britain in 2014.

Tourism is Britain’s seventh largest export industry and third largest service sector. Latest forecasts from VisitBritain show that the number of overseas visitors to the UK is expected to rise this year to 36.7 million visits, up 3.8% on 2015.

Spending by overseas visitors is predicted to reach almost £23 billion this year, up 4.2% on last year.

The forecast puts VisitBritain on track to realise its ambition for growing international visits to Britain by more than 20% to 42 million visits by 2020, which could see an additional £4.5 billion in visitor spend.

Inbound tourism is worth more than £26 billion to the UK economy.

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