Steve Ridgway on two-day visit to the UAE as he expects to see 825,000 GCC tourists to the UK this year
Steve Ridgway, CBE, chairman of Britain’s national tourism agency, has been visiting the UAE this week to promote the UK as a visitor destination to Gulf tourists.
During his two-day visit, Ridgway has been meeting with VisitBritain’s partners including Wego, one of the largest online travel marketplaces in the Middle East, and visiting the Expo 2020 site.
The visit comes as tourists to the UK from the GCC have increased by 53 percent between 2012 and 2017.
VisitBritain said it is expecting about 825,000 visits from the GCC this year, with visitors spending £2.4 billion.
VisitBritain added that it is also working with partners in market including Etihad Airlines, Wego and Cleartrip to amplify its global marketing reach and convert the inspiration to visit into bookings.
Ridgway, who is the former chief executive of Virgin Atlantic Airways, said: “The GCC is a very important market for VisitBritain and it has been fantastic to spend time in the UAE talking to the travel trade, media and our partners in market including airlines and travel operators and also to look at potential areas for future collaboration, and growth opportunities globally.
“We are providing visitors from the GCC with more reasons to travel to Britain, from world-class shopping, fine-dining in Michelin star restaurants to luxury sporting and heritage breaks."
He added: “It has been great to visit the Dubai Expo 2020 site and discuss the unprecedented opportunities this global festival of innovation will provide, in boosting Britain’s profile internationally as a visitor destination to the 25 million expected visitors from around the world.
"The UK Pavilion theme, Maze of Aspiration, aims to inspire visitors to continue their journey and visit the undiscovered UK.”