A subset to the Bollywood in Britain app campaign rolled out last year, VisitBritain has identified locations in UK where romantic Bollywood films have been shot, and designed an itinerary that showcases these spots. Highlighting their plans to promote ‘set jetting’, i.e. travelling to film locations, Sumathi Ramanathan, Regional Manager for Asia Pacific & Middle East, VisitBritain informed that five packages have been designed as per this theme and will be available through their fulfillment partner TUI India.
“We have noticed that Indians know London very well and 95 per cent of Indian visitors to UK visit London. However, only 9 per cent travel to Scotland and 1 per cent visit Wales. We expect this campaign to fuel footfall to destinations beyond London as the destinations we have chosen are film locations across the United Kingdom,” Ramanathan explained.
Leveraging Saif Ali Khan’s connect with Britain owing to his education in London as well as his forefathers’ association with the country, VisitBritain has named him their spokesperson for the event. According to Ramanathan, the actor was a perfect fit for the role as he knows and loves the country, is a known Bollywood figure, and has featured in some of the biggest romantic Bollywood films shot in the UK.
Speaking about UK as a preferred destination for films, Khan informed that the country offers a 40 per cent rebate for choosing to film at one of their locations.
Ramanathan stated that VisitBritain’s main target through this campaign is honeymooners and young couples as it is a romance theme, although she opined that the Bollywood appeal would attract Indian tourists across all segments. The packages, designed for periods ranging from three to nine days, and available for fixed and customised tours, is available through TUI India exclusively.
She added that TUI India is one of the few big players in the country that VisitBritain had so far not had a chance to do a campaign with, and the company showed a keen interest in Bollywood packages. Vishal Sinha, COO, TUI India also expressed his pleasure at the company being a partner for the campaign.
During her visit to India, Ramanathan also had a high level meeting with Mahesh Sharma, Union Minister of State for Culture (Independent Charge), Tourism (Independent Charge), & Civil Aviation to discuss the strong relations between the countries as well as the current governments. “It was a goodwill meeting and I am very impressed with the speed and enthusiasm with which the Ministry is embarking on tourism growth measures. It was a positive meeting overall,” she added.
VisitBritain received 375,000 Indian visitors in 2013 and the Board is currently awaiting 2014 numbers. From January to April 2014, however, UK welcomed 312,000 Indians, a 2.6 per cent growth over the same period in 2013, Ramanathan revealed.
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