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Tue 1 Aug 2006 04:00 AM

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VisitBritain plans travel agent sales missions

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The UK’s tourism promotion board, VisitBritain and UK carrier, Virgin Atlantic will join forces to conduct a sales mission to select UAE agents in September.

Five suppliers from the UK will take part the initiative, which will involve the top 10 agents in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, according to Carol Maddison, regional marketing manager (Middle East), VisitBritain.

“BritRail, City Hotel Rooms, Eurail, Tourism Ireland and NH Hotels are joining us for this tour,†she explained.

“They will give presentations to the agents to inform them of what services they offer [this market].â€

Recent VisitBritain figures reveal that travel from the Middle East to the UK is bouncing back this summer following a slight dip last year in response to the July London bombings.

“We expect to be about 2% or 3% up for the July to August period,†said Maddison.

Recent figures reveal a 12% year-on-year increase in visitor arrivals from the Middle East for the January to April period, higher than the 8% average for total international arrivals.

To stimulate demand, VisitBritain has launched a series of promotions and adverts this summer.

A radio advert aired on several stations including Dubai Eye, documented a UAE family’s trip to the UK, which took in visits to Madame Tussaud’s and Warwick Castle, and VisitBritain also joined forces with Etihad Airways and Emirates Airlines to offer special package deals.

The Etihad deal promoted holiday packages to the Lake District in the North West of England starting from AED 2499 (US $680), and Emirates Holidays offered family packages incorporating theme park trips.

Prices for two nights at The Splash Landings Hotel, Staffordshire, part of the Alton Towers Theme Park, start at AED 5247 ($1428) per person and two-nights at the Alton Towers Hotel start at AED 5534 ($1507) per person.

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