Visit Britain addresses Olympic concerns

UK tourism board briefs travel trade

Visit Britain held an Olympics forum in Dubai with travel trade partners to address concerns such as the late booking trend.
Visit Britain held an Olympics forum in Dubai with travel trade partners to address concerns such as the late booking trend.

Visit Britain, the UK’s tourism board has embarked on a major marketing drive to promote the upcoming London Olympics in 2012 to GCC travel trade as well as to educate the trade on ways to “sustain business” to London during the event.

“We believe that it is in everyone’s interest that we sustain business during 2012 and we don’t lose visitors to the ‘stay away’ factor,” explained Carol Maddison, manager UAE, Visit Britain.

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At a recent Olympics roundtable forum held in Dubai, headed live from London by Chris Foy, head of the 2012 Games Unit; members of the trade were briefed on “how to get their businesses ready for the years ahead prior to the big event.”

Visit Britain has concerns that traffic from the UAE to the UK will decline over the Olympic period due to Ramadan falling on 20 July, which will impact on the numbers of UAE nationals looking to travel.

Another issue which the tourism board is trying to combat is the late booking trend. “The UAE is a very late booking market so we will have to send out consistent PR messages to persuade travellers to book early so as not to avoid disappointment, especially with accommodation,” said Maddison.

Visit Britain will introduce ‘early bird’ offers through the trade in due course. It plans to promote the 2012 Olympics in two waves — firstly to UAE nationals travelling in June and July prior to Ramadan, and then to expats from July to August.

Maddison said: “Feedback from participants at the forum was positive, but also realistic.

“The trade feel that we really need to work in tandem to put initiatives in place to encourage UAE residents to plan and book early if they wish to visit London in the summer of 2012.”

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