The city of Manchester is set to partner with London and Birmingham in a bid to attract more tourists from three of the world’s fastest growing markets – India, China and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.
The Experience England initiative, which was unveiled earlier today, marks the first time the three English cities have collaborated in an attempt to boost visitor numbers. The project’s overarching aim is to encourage tourists arriving in one city to extend their visit, travel to different regions and take in more top UK landmarks.
The scheme will be funded through a £1.2m government grant, part of a wider £40m fund controlled by tourist body VisitEngland.
The initiative is being backed by Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, as well as the mayors of London and the West Midlands. Mr Burnham believes it’s the “ideal time” for the UK’s largest cities to come together in order to promote all Britain has to offer.
He said: “Greater Manchester is not only a vibrant, exciting region but it is also a gateway to explore the north of England, including places such as the Yorkshire Dales, the Lake District, the Peak District and so much more.
“With increasing interest from international visitors now is the ideal time to work together to create compelling itineraries that showcase the breadth and diversity of the entire country, starting or ending in our three biggest cities.
“Of course, it is well-known that Greater Manchester is a city-region that has collaboration, partnership and innovation at its core, so I am delighted to see this project move forward via the team at Marketing Manchester and its counterparts in London and the West Midlands.”
Figures compiled by Tourism Vision for London suggest visits to London from India are expected to grow by 90 per cent by 2025. However, according to London & Partners, the Mayor of London’s official promotional agency, fewer than a third of visitors staying overnight in the capital go on to stay overnight elsewhere in the country. That’s despite the same research revealing that levels of visitor satisfaction increase significantly when people do visit other destinations.
Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester lead on internationalisation, added: “Whether it’s through sport, our rich cultural heritage and exciting nightlife or our history of innovation, Manchester already has huge international recognition and visitor appeal. Working together we can capitalise on this strength and ensure that visitors to the UK get to sample more of what the country has to offer and experience a warm welcome.”
Main image: Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham; West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street and Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.