VisitEngland calls on celebrities to kick start £5m domestic tourism push

VisitEngland, the tourism body, has recruited Stephen Fry, Rupert Grint, Julie Walters and Michelle Dockery to encourage UK consumers to holiday at home, in its biggest campaign to date.

The £5m ad campaign breaks tomorrow to promote UK destinations, the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympic torch relay.

It also tackles the issue of people avoiding taking holidays in London in an Olympic year.

During the year consumers will be able to save 20.12% on bookings for accommodation, restaurants, attractions, events and transport via a dedicated website, www.great2012offers.com.

James Beresford, chief executive of VisitEngland, said Olympic host nations can experience a "sag" in domestic tourism, but the new campaign should generate an additional £80m in domestic spend and create 12,500 jobs.

The "holidays at home are great" by M&C Saatchi builds on the current "great" marketing theme in VisitBritain's international ads, released last month.

The ad features the four celebrities encouraging Brits to explore UK destinations. It ends with the line, "No passports. No jabs. No visas. No Euros. No wonder holidays at home are so great."

Additional 10-second executions that showcase Blackpool, Skegness, Yorkshire and Liverpool will be broadcast as part of the campaign through a partnership with the individual destination marketing organisations.

Jeremy Hunt, secretary of state for culture, media, sport and the Olympics, said: "This is the first time we've had a national domestic tourism marketing campaign.

"It is completely measurable – we will know how many nights are booked as a result of this campaign.

"As an industry and as a Government, we will know whether this type of campaign works and what the return on investment is.

"That in itself will provide an important template going forward in terms of upping our game in marketing."

The campaign is supported by VisitScotland, VisitWales and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, alongside industry partners Thomas Cook, Travelodge and Bourne Leisure, among others.

It is part of VisitEngland's three-year £24m marketing strategy to boost domestic tourism.

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