WITH London remaining a prime attraction for 65 per cent of visitors from India to the UK, VisitBritain is keen to change that by promoting travel to other destinations in the country.
“We are trying to educate Indian travellers that there is more for them than just visiting London and its surroundings,” said Shivali Suri, India country manager at VisitBritain. “We are trying to encourage them to go to places like Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Indian travellers should explore the rest of the UK."
To that end, VisitBritain is using digital media channels and trade engagements to spread the message. During Great Tourism Week, the British NTO's ongoing roadshow that began last month and ending on September 18, it will be visiting nine Indian cities including Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata, Delhi, Lucknow, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
India is currently Britain’s largest source market among the BRIC countries, recording 390,000 visitor arrivals to the country in 2014, up four per cent from 2013. VisitBritain is aiming for 500,000 Indian arrivals by 2020.
Apart from the traditional visiting friends and relatives, leisure and business market segments generating Indian arrivals to the UK, Indian outbound players are seeing new segments.
“A lot of companies are offering incentive tours to the UK. In summers, we used to handle about three MICE groups, but this year we have already handled seven such groups,” said Hemal Majithia, marketing manager at Golden Tours.
Non-metro cities in India are also seeing more traffic to the UK. “The majority of our business is from metro cities and (nearby) cities because of air connectivity. However, demand has now picked up from the north-eastern region as well,” said Abhishek Singh, senior manager, sales and marketing, Lets Travel.