The national tourism agency is hoping to build on the legacy left by the London 2012 Olympic Games and a summer of sport and cultural events by reaching 40m visitors by 2020, a 3 per cent increase year on year.
"This summer has shown what the country can do when we are united in a common cause," Christopher Rodrigues, chairman of VisitBritain, said. He argued restaurants, hotels and pubs and bars could help meet the target which would result in a big boost in earnings and create more than 200,000 new jobs.
"This country showed passion, professionalism, drive and energy to stage the best ever Olympic and Paralympic Games. The test now is whether we can maintain this to create wealth and jobs through a major tourism drive."
Businesses and individuals involved with the tourism industry are being encouraged to email responses on four elements of the proposed strategy before 9 November when the agency will consider the points raised before launching the final strategy in due course.
The four elements being considered include ways of enhancing perceived weaknesses in Britain's image including its food, value and welcome:
- Enhancing Britain’s image - Playing to Britain’s strengths and addressing perceived weaknesses
- Ensuring Britain is on the shelf - Working with the travel trade in key markets to ensure Britain is sold well.
- Building on Britain’s strong product - Ensure that destinations can be easily packaged and continue to meet expectations of growth markets.
- Making it easier to get here - Addressing barriers to growth such as visas and aviation capacity.
The consultation will also consider wider factors such as the population shift to cities, whether to target lots of visitors or a smaller number of high-value tourists and how to reverse the decline in visits from traditional markets like the USA.
"This consultation with the industry, the public agencies and multiple Government departments that care about tourism and impact on its success has been designed to identify shared priorities and potential partnerships. Britain can succeed if we focus – aligning priorities, investment and activity," Rodrigues concluded.