v i s i t b ri t a i n . c o m /r e s e a r c h ISSUE 10 Spring 2008
T h e q u a r t e rl y r o u n d- u p o f V i s i t B ri t a i n ’ s m a r k e t i n t e l l i g e n c e a n d re s e a r c h
WELCOME TO THE spring edition of Visitor’s Voice, which is produced by
VisitBritain’s Insight and Marketing Intelligence team.
This quarter there are several articles dealing with different nations
perceptions of Britain as a destination. In addition, we have continued the
‘green theme’ of the last edition, with an article summarising VisitBritain’s
latest research into the subject.
We hope you enjoy this issue of V isitor’s Voice and would love to receive
you opinions and feedback. Please email us at email@example.com
The World at Your Fingertips
VISITBRITAIN ARE PLEASED to announce that the 2008 Britain International Market
Profiles are now available online.
Over the course of the year we have been gathering all of our latest intelligence,
trends and insights to provide our users with a one-stop shop for information on all of
our global markets. Many sources have been used to compile the Market Profiles,
including the International Passenger Survey, the Anholt-GMI Nation Brands Index,
Global Insights, WTO and much, much more. The Market Profiles are further
enhanced by the inclusion of in-house knowledge, such as on-territory insights and
numerous qualitative and quantitative research projects conducted in our markets
throughout the year.
In keeping VisitBritain’s online strategy to “put the web at the heart of everything we
do” - we will not printing the Big Book but will be updating the profiles throughout the
year to provide our users with our most up to date market intelligence.
The Market Profiles are available via the following address:
Visitor’s Voice ISSUE 10 Spring 2008
Where is the Love?
LATEST RESEARCH CONDUCTED amongst Baby Boomers in Canada, Australia and New Zealand shows that when thinking of a trip to
Britain many people have a stereotypical, detached view of Britain. It is seen as a safe, cerebral destination choice rather than playing on
consumers’ emotions and letting people fall in love with it.
Top of mind perceptions are all the obvious iconic imagery of Britain which at times can also encompass some slightly less positive images.
However, when questioned in more depth respondents did in fact have a rich, emotional connection with Britain which included aspects
such as modern British food, warm people, hip and happening London, and an active and experiential Britain.
To help consumers fall in love with Britain, communications need to show Britain as an evolving country that is a dynamic evolution of
people, food, music and fashion. A cool and modern society that still retains its quintessential British values of fairness, confidence, humour
and outward focus. It is crucial to move people beyond perceptions of Britain as a stagnant society stuck in post war England and allow them
to experience the heart of genuine, evolving Britain, which has managed a synthesis between old and new.
VISITBRITAIN INCLUDED QUESTIONS on the Anholt-GMI Nation Brand Index (2007 Wave 2) to gauge different countries
perceptions of Britain and understand sources of inspiration to travel abroad:
Respondents generally agree that there are lots of interesting places outside London, showing that many respondents could
be open to marketing messages encouraging them to explore Britain.
Respondents are more likely to agree than disagree that they’ve always wanted to see Buckingham Palace. However,
respondents from Western Europe are far less likely to be enthusiastic than respondents from further afield.
Britain is seen as an expensive destination for a holiday, especially by South Africans, Malaysians, Mexicans, Singaporeans,
and Argentinians. Close-neighbours Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and France agreed the least strongly that Britain is
expensive, but were still more likely to agree than disagree.
Respondents feel that it is quite important that information is provided in languages other than English. VisitBritain’s largest
markets that think it’s important are Spain and France. Due to their high level of English, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and the
Netherlands are least likely to think it’s important.
Respondents claim that a number of forms of communication have inspired holidays abroad including travel programmes on
TV, word of mouth, books, the internet, and something learned in school.
Visitor’s Voice ISSUE 10 Spring 2008
Domestic Industry Panel: Optimism Cools for
Crunch Time! Visitor Attractions
VISITBRITAIN CONDUCTED THE fourth wave of its Domestic Industry Panel,
with fieldwork taking place in November 2007. The Panel is a qualitative
survey which gathers the opinions of senior figures in the Tourism sector. The
survey which runs three times a year focuses on organisations/companies
past business performance and expectations for the future. Information about
the business environment is also collected including challenges/threats and
FINDINGS FROM THE England Attraction’s Monitor
opportunities relating to participants tourism business.
Quarter 3 (July to September) 2007 were less
positive than the previous two quarters of 2007, with
The findings for the fourth wave were:
visitor numbers across the 607 participating
attractions increasing by just +1% compared with
-Under half of respondents (42%) rated the previous 4 months (Aug-Nov
+13% in Quarter 1 and +5% in Quarter 2. This
2007) customer numbers as better than expected while 54% rated earnings
marginal growth was similar across each of the three
performance better than expected during the same period
months of the quarter.
-Only less than a third (29%) of respondents thought customer numbers
would be better than normal in the next 4 months (Dec 2007-Mar 2008),
The performance of outdoor and indoor attractions
while less than half (46%) thought earnings would be above expectations
continued to correlate heavily with the weather –
outdoor attractions reporting less positive
New challenges/threats mentioned by respondents in this wave included:
performance in the wet July than in the relatively dry
- Threat of an economic downturn and the effects of the credit crunch on the
economy was the overriding concern for the majority of panellists
Looking forward, the proportion of attractions
Weather – worse than anticipated and the possibility of affecting future
expecting visitor admissions for Q4 to be higher than
in 2006 (27%) remains higher than the proportion
- Government regulation and legislation
expecting a decline (19%). However, the proportion
-Respondents were most positive about the opportunities created by
feeling positive about admissions is now significantly
lower than for either Q2 (55%) or Q3 (49%) 2007.
When diagnosing the decline in business confidence
To participate in the next wave of this survey please contact Sam Harrison:
for Q4, there have been increasing mentions of the
general economic climate (interest rates, fuel prices,
credit squeeze etc.) and attractions closing during
the winter for refurbishment.
Full report available on the domestic research
section of the visitbritain.com/research website
So What do Visitors Really Think of Britain?
NEW RESEARCH SHOWS that New Zealand, Australia and Canada are people’s top
destination choices. The survey was conducted with over 4,000 international respondents
and asks about perceptions and experiences of 17 different countries. The findings show that
to improve its country ranking Britain needs to continue to promote the huge variety of
cultural and music events it has on offer and that it is indeed becoming a more child friendly
Britain’s strengths continue to be its heritage and culture with interesting cities and towns
featured as an important visitor drawing card. Other areas that Britain performs well on are
the infinite opportunities to visit famous buildings, monuments, museums, art galleries and
the contemporary arts.
Feelings of welcome, customer service, the availability of good restaurants and fine dining
continue to be a bit of a sticking point. However, we know from other research that Britons
aren’t as unfriendly as often thought and food is a lot better than the perceived stereotype
and in fact it’s these stereotypes that are in need of fix rather than anything else!
ISSUE10 Spring 2008
THE ANHOLT-GMI NATION BRAND INDEX could be used effectively in marketing
(NBI) for Wave 3 2007 included a new question materials to help instantly identify them as
to understand which iconic British images ‘British’. It could be argued, however, that
respondents would choose (as a postcard) to the castle in the Highlands may be less
communicate to their friends back at home that identifiable as uniquely British…respondents
they were in Britain. may have chosen it because they liked the
picture as opposed to thinking that it
The red double-decker bus was seen most often communicated being in Britain.
(24%) as the iconic image that communicates
‘being in Britain’, followed by the castle in the It should be noted that images of Tower
Highlands (20%), and the Queen (11%). Bridge and Big Ben/Houses of Parliament
These, along with the red phone boxes (10%), were omitted from the research to provide
consistently ranked in the top 3 iconic images more of a Britain focus as opposed to a
chosen by each country. London focus.
Know Your Roots-
These findings imply that these iconic images
RECENT RESEARCH BY VisitBritain has shown that overseas visitors
who come to Britain to research their British ancestry generally rated
their experience here as being either ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. The
participants, all of whom had previously travelled to Britain to research
their family history, were from the United States, Canada, Australia and
We found that researching their ancestry is an emotional experience
for a number of respondents and discovering more about their family’s
links with Britain gives them a feeling of ‘having come home’.
Researching ancestry was not, as a rule, their primary purpose for
travelling to Britain, respondents often also came for a holiday or to visit
friends and family. While in Britain, they participated in other activities,
such as, visiting family, shopping and trying our local food and drink.
LATEST RESULTS FROM the United Kingdom Tourism Survey
Results show that travel decisions are planned a long-time in advance
clearly reflect the troubled operating conditions faced by
and these respondents mainly spent at least two weeks in Britain. The
domestic tourism over summer 2007 (bad weather, multiple
internet is an important tool for this group – it was used universally by
floods, airport security alerts, foot & mouth).
the respondents to facilitate ancestry research. Trip groups are most
likely to consist of either families or couples. The most popular months
There were 93.7m overnight trips made in the UK by UK
to travel were between April and September.
residents between January and September 2007, a fall of -1%
from the same period in 2006. Domestic overnight trips were
worth £16.5bn to the UK economy during Jan-Sep 2007, up +1%
from the same nine months in 2006. Trips of 1+ nights taken to
visit friends and relatives were the weakest performing trip
purpose during the first three quarters of 2007, recording a -2%
drop in volume and a -1% decline in value.
Looking forward, with increasing focus on the UK ‘credit
crunch’, it remains to be seen whether this will impact on
propensity to travel within the UK. The industry will now require
a sharp turnaround in the final three months of the year if
domestic tourism is to record growth in 2007.
See more UKTS data at visitbritain.com/ukts
Visitor’s Voice ISSUE 10 Spring 2008
UK is Mid-Table in ‘Welcome League’
CANADA, AUSTRALIA, AND SPAIN are seen as the world’s most
welcoming nations, with the UK languishing in mid-table in the
Anholt-GMI Nations Brand Index Welcome League. Notably, two
English speaking countries perform best in the league, and given
that respondents generally perceive countries that speak the same
language and have the same ethnic profile as them to be more
welcoming, Britain should have an advantage!
Latin countries are the least likely to see British people as
welcoming, whilst the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand
are the most likely. Other important markets such as France,
Germany, and Ireland see Britain as fairly welcoming, but see
other countries as far more welcoming, so perceptions could be
improved. Promoting Britain as a sociable and friendly destination
with a mix of ethnicities and cultures would go a long way towards
Being perceived as welcoming is not a pre-requisite to
being seen as a desirable holiday destination (as shown by
France, the UK, and Switzerland), but the other 7 of the
top 10 countries that respondents would most like to visit
if money were no object are also ranked highly as being
Taking Stock of England
FOLLOWING THE RECENT publication of a census of serviced accommodation across England, VisitBritain recently completed its census of
non-serviced accommodation, which includes campsites and self-catering properties.
As with serviced accommodation stock, there is currently no compulsory registration scheme for non-serviced accommodation establishments
in England. Therefore, the census was conducted using VisitBritain’s own extensive database of accommodation and data from our regional
partners and commercial organisations. The results of the census are reported to Eurostat.
The census found there are almost 26,000 non-serviced establishments across England, with enough bed spaces to sleep 1.2m.
The full census can be accessed via the domestic research section of visitbritain.com/research
Visitor’s Voice ISSUE 10 Spring 2008
VISITBRITAIN RECENTLY CONDUCTED an online
survey amongst 5,600 accommodation businesses
and attractions looking at their experience of and
attitudes towards sustainability/green issues and
what information consumers are asking for in these
the Industry V iew
Findings show some but not great importance placed
on sustainability practices currently, though in some
areas (for example recycling, heat conservation
measures) businesses have been quite active.
Fairly low levels of existing overt customer interest
could be influencing these levels of importance while
stronger customer demand would almost certainly
drive more interest amongst businesses.
V isitBritain will be presenting its plans on engaging
the industry with sustainable tourism at the British
Travel Trade Fair in March. Further information will be
available at visitbritain.com/green
We hope you have enjoyed the Spring 2008 edition of Visitor’s Voice. Send any
comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Would you like further information on one or more of our articles?
Visit our Research homepage for Key Tourism Facts, UKTS and IPS Statistics, Trends and
Forecasts, Foresight, Online Market Profiles, previous editions of Visitor’s Voice and much
HomePage of VisitBritain’s Market Intelligence and Research:
- A fresh look at our consumers of tomorrow
- Unveiling the consumer in the UAE
- Getting up close and personal to Japanenese 30 somethings
- Special reports on the potenial impact of both the new terminal opening at Heathrow and
the so called ‘Open Skies’ agreement between the US and EU