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The UK’s national tourism agency, VisitBritain, has launched a major new initiative to attract more inbound visitors from the Gulf.

The agency will roll out a six-week marketing campaign in Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as part of a strategy to present the UK as an “ideal destination” for the region’s burgeoning middle class.

At the heart of the drive will be the #OMGB (Oh My GREAT Britain) hashtag, which will be used in conjunction with images and a video filmed on locations across the UK. The campaign will appear on social media and the web, in print magazines and on digital screens in malls.

The Middle East market is an increasingly important sector for the UK’s inbound tourism. Last year saw a record 675,000 visits to the UK from Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE collectively, up 20 per cent on 2014, with spending up 10 per cent to £1.5bn.

Inbound tourism to the UK from Saudi Arabia saw the largest boost in 2015 with visits up 2 per cent to 147,000 and spend up 52 per cent to £556m, moving Saudi Arabia into the UK’s top 10 most valuable markets for the first time.

Visitors from Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are some of the highest spending in the UK, spending about £2,200 on average per visit. They all rank among the top 10 markets most likely to visit luxury stores according to VisitBritain research published last year.

At the end of August, UK Prime Minister Theresa May launched a ‘Tourism Action Plan(link is external)’ to ensure that Britain remains a world-leading destination for visitors from across the globe.

Last year set a record for inbound tourism to Britain on visits and spend with 36.1 million visits, 5 per cent up on 2014, and spending up 1 per cent to £22.1bn.

For the Gulf campaign, VisitBritain is working with partners to launch tactical airfare offers and create tailored destination content to build on the momentum of the ‘Home of Amazing Moments’ campaign and convert aspiration to visit into bookings.

VisitBritain director of marketing Robin Johnson said: “By showcasing the sheer diversity of incredible experiences we want to inspire more visitors to book a trip right now to come and discover their own amazing moments.”

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The UK’s national tourism agency, VisitBritain, has launched a major new initiative to attract more inbound visitors from the Gulf.
London's famous shops are among the major draws for visitors from The Gulf


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