Retail News: VisitBritain readies retail tourism push

VisitBritain is seeking retail partners to help raise the profile of Britain as a shopping destination for tourists.

The organisation plans to make the UK synonymous with shopping, as achieved by New York and Dubai, by integrating retail into promotional activity.

Tourists spend an estimated £11bn on shopping in Britain.

It also wants to spread retail tourism throughout Britain, by focusing on sites such as Bluewater in Kent, Birmingham's Bullring, designer outlet park Bicester Village, Leeds city centre and Brighton's fashionable Lanes.

The work follows Visit-Britain's hiring of Fox Kalomaski, Triangle Commun- ications and Tullo Marshall Warren to its £7m integrated marketing brief in April to promote Britain to overseas and domestic markets.

Promotional initiatives and tie-ups with retailers are being planned by VisitBritain, which has identified lucrative markets to target, including the US, Japan, Ireland, France, Belgium and Holland.

By forging links between tour partners and retailers, it aims to make the connection between holidays and shopping trips more tangible.

Bluewater has already tied with P&O and Hilton Hotels via VisitLondon.com, offering an overnight package and free taxis to the shopping centre, on top of promotional offers at particular retailers in the centre.

About 90% of tax refunds to tourists visiting Britain come from money spent in London, according to tax claim firm Global Refunds.

Earlier this year, VisitBritain developed a brand strategy for domestic tourism with Corporate Edge to persuade Britons to take more short-duration domestic breaks.

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