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Economy Economy

Encourage the world to visit, study and do business in the UK

Last updated: 03:11pm 25 September 2019

And we will encourage the world to visit, study and do business in the UK through the GREAT Britain campaign and Visit Britain.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.15

Our verdict

GREAT Britain is the global branding campaign promoting the UK as a destination for travel, study and trade. It was established in 2012 to support the British economy after the Olympic Games in London. Most of its activities are administered and implemented by Visit Britain, the national tourism authority. Other partners include the British Council and the Department for International Trade. Through this policy, the government has promised to “encourage” visitors to take holidays, study and do business in the UK by continuing the GREAT campaign and supporting Visit Britain. Because of the wording, we’re looking for evidence of “encouragement” (support) rather than hard metrics to show the impact of that support.

In June 2019, the government published the Tourism Sector Deal, outlining how it will work with the industry to increase productivity, and develop skills and infrastructure to enhance the visitor offer. It includes creating a Tourism Data Hub, to provide analytics to optimise marketing campaigns like GREAT.

The sector deal will be implemented by Visit Britain and includes the roll-out of 10,000 apprenticeships, the development of 130,000 additional bedrooms, and the launch of the Business Events Action Plan. It is worth noting that the impact of GREAT Britain is hard to measure. A 2015 National Audit Office report found that evaluation of GREAT presents some methodological issues, including its use of “propensity to spend” as an indicator.

With the Tourism Sector Deal under way, we know that government is supporting GREAT and Visit Britain, so we consider this policy ‘done’. It may be updated if the government decides to reverse its support for the tourism industry.

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