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VisitEngland Officially Launches in North AmericaFebruary 22, 2010 By: Jena Tesse Fox
VisitEngland CEO James Berresford traveled to New York City last week to announce and celebrate the official launch of VisitEngland in North America. Having launched in the UK in April 2009, it was announced that the official tourism body for England is expanding its network of global PR representation to include the U.S. and Canada with the goal of increasing travel throughout England from the North American market.
“The North American visitor market is England’s number one long haul market and is vital and valued, providing a 13 percent market share of all visits to the country,” said Berresford. “In 2008, there were 2.74 million trips to England from U.S. residents, worth [nearly $3] billion, while Canadian residents made 764,000 visits, worth [$621] million...We are committed to growing this number.”
At an event in New York City at Brinkley’s, an English gastro-pub in SoHo, Berresford was joined by a number of New York City chefs with connections to England, including Ben Towill, Brinkley’s English menu consultant; Markus Glocker, chef de cuisine at Gordon Ramsay at The London; Neil Ferguson, executive chef at Soho House; Brad Farmerie, executive chef at PUBLIC; and Chris Rendell, chef de cuisine at Double Crown and Madame Geneva. It was announced that VisitEngland’s PR efforts aimed at the North American market will include promoting England via raising the profile of its culinary landscape.
“Raising the profile of England through its unique food and drink offerings makes perfect sense, particularly in light of the global trend for seasonal and locally sourced produce and a widespread shift towards supporting local producers,” said Towill. “The farm-to-table movement is prevalent throughout England and English regional food and drink produce such as Lincolnshire sausages, Yorkshire puddings, Stilton Cheese as well as local beers and wines cannot be beat.”
Other main objectives outlined by VisitEngland in order to promote the positive image of England throughout the U.S.and Canada include increasing the perception of England as a good value destination in both monetary and experiential terms for North American visitors. In partnership with local tourist boards and tourism industry partners, VisitEngland has created around 1,000 offers such as discounted accommodation and reduced admission charges to attractions, all accessible at www.visitengland.com.
Prior to April 2009, VisitEngland existed as a division within VisitBritain, before the organization was created after the need for a separate and distinct body for tourism within England was identified. VisitEngland is responsible for promoting travel to England with a particular focus on the regions outside of its well-known capital city London. These include the South East, South West, Heart of England, East of England, East Midlands, North East, the Northwest and Yorkshire.