Great Britain

Britain is GREAT – Flying the flag through film

With a trip back to my home country a matter of days away, it was perfect timing to be invited to meet the CEO of VisitBritain, in Dubai to promote the Middle East launch of the new film tourism campaign.

Building on last year’s ‘Bond is GREAT Britain‘ campaign, which helped to mark the 50th anniversary of the world’s favourite secret agent, this year’s ‘Film is GREAT Britain‘ campaign has been designed to encourage people to visit the film sets and inspirational locations of their favourite films. From Braveheart, Notting Hill and Sherlock Holmes, to Harry Potter and James Bond, both international and domestic tourists are key to visit the places they’ve seen on films or popular TV shows show as Downton Abbey.

At the heart of the campaign in the GCC is a month-long competition (set to run until 12th January) which will give VisitBritain’s Facebook fans the chance to win an action packed trip to Britain themed on the recent cinema blockbusters and iconic British heroes, James Bond and Sherlock Holmes. The grand prize will consist of a three-day trip to London and Oxfordshire, including a Warner Bros. studio tour to go behind the scenes of Harry Potter, a James Bond Private VIP Spy tour complete with high-speed bot rides and visits to real spy sites, and a Sherlock Holmes adventure in London. To be in with a chance, Facebook fans need to go to the Film is GREAT tab and answer with the name of Visit Britain goodwill ambassador, Ali Mustafa‘s, next movie title.

Film is GREAT is one of the seven pillars of the GREAT Britain campaign, alongside food & drink, sports, culture & heritage, shopping, countryside and music, which aims to inspire world travellers to choose Britain as their next holiday destination. This campaign has particular importance for the high-spending UAE market, as well as the broader GCC, which sent half a million visitors to Britain this year. These visitors spent over a billion pounds according to recorded statistics from the international passenger survey, showing individual spend to be between 2,000 – 2,500 pounds per person for this region (although this is thought to be massively under-reported). The biggest spenders in the UK include Qataris, Nigerians, Emiratis and Chinese – and in fact the UAE has 50% of the GCC market volume and a third of the spend, as we were reliably advised by VisitBritain. And whilst shopping and Premier League football remain the strongest draws for visitors from here, VisitBritain’s statistics show that 40% of people are inspired to travel by what they see in the movies – encouraging news in light of the upcoming Paddington Bear movie and ongoing James Bond franchise, so I’m sure this campaign will work well here.