Introducing the British Airways i360 Observation Tower to the world
When we open next Summer we will be welcoming visitors from all over the world, many of whom will be first time visitors to our fantastic city. In order to spread the word about Brighton as a top tourist destination, the British Airways i360 team exhibited at the World Travel Market (WTM) in London, last week.
The World Travel Market is the leading event for the travel industry, attended by more than 50,000 senior travel trade professionals from across the UK and internationally. With a constant stream of enquiries, Pippa, our Head of Sales and Sophie, our Venue Sales & Events Manager were kept busy establishing new connections as well as building on existing relationships with journalists, UK & inbound tour operators, group operators, foreign language schools and events companies.
Many of the representatives we spoke to were unaware of Brighton as a potential destination (gasp!) so this event was a fantastic opportunity to open up and tap into potential new visitor markets.
Promoting Brighton on the International Stage
As members of UK Inbound, a leading trade association which focuses solely on the interests of the UK’s inbound tourism sector, the British Airways i360 are committed to showcasing Brighton on the international stage. We already work with organisations such as Visit Britain who promote the UK internationally. Plus we are involved in campaigns with Tourism South East including their ‘Go! China’ and ‘Near Europe’ campaigns (which includes Belgium, Germany, France and Holland).
In the coming weeks we will be attending more of these events to further promote Brighton. Including the ‘Group Leisure and Travel Show’ at the Birmingham NEC in October, ‘Meet the Belgian Media’ in January and ‘Excursions 2016’, the biggest group travel show in the South East. Our stilt walker will be meeting and greeting attendees at Excursions 2016 too, which we are very excited about.
So why is all of this important?
Brighton already receives approximately 1.5 million tourists from overseas accounting for 20% of overall visitors to the city. When you consider that one major trade partner can deliver tens of thousands of visitors, attending events like WTM are an important aspect of our business plan. Any visitors we can encourage to visit Brighton, will also spend money in the city’s shops, restaurants and hotels. Thus generating more income and jobs for the city. All good news for Brighton.
As the only organisation representing Brighton, we played the important role of promoting the city as an attractive day trip to overseas visitors based in London. Brighton can be reached within an hour from London by train or less than half an hour from London Gatwick.
A Unique Visitor Attraction
It was encouraging to hear overwhelming excitement felt by the trade for the British Airways i360. We are a particularly unique attractive visitor attraction in the UK and overseas:
- The British Airways i360 has been created by the team behind the London Eye, Marks Barfield Architects.
- We are catering for the international market with a multimedia tour in 10 different languages.
- Countries such as France, Holland, Italy, Germany, Spain and Australia have been involved in the building of the British Airways i360.
- We are not only offering visitors a new experience with 360 degree views across Sussex, we are also offering a flexible conferencing and events space.
- We are working closely with the West Pier Trust and are committed to maintaining the heritage of the site around the British Airways i360 bringing together the old and the new.
Networking Events at WTM
British Airways i360 Chief Executive, Eleanor Harris, held several interviews with the media and attended many networking events. Together with Anna (the i360 Marketing Manager), Eleanor met with over 30 influential bloggers specialising in family travel, LGBT travel, luxury travel and food blogs.
The family bloggers were particularly impressed by the vertical cable car, loving the idea of travelling up high to enjoy the 360 degree views. They commented that our pricing for children is very good too.
They were excited to hear about the other family friendly features such as the children’s play zone, interactive multimedia tour and children’s menus in our restaurants.
Whilst chatting with the family bloggers we took the opportunity to promote many of Brighton’s other visitor attractions: the Palace Pier, Sealife Centre, the kids tour at Brighton Pavilion, the myriad museums in Brighton & Hove and of course the beach.
Our dining options also proved very popular with the food bloggers. They were impressed that our Brasserie menu will include the best local ingredients, created by one of the best local chefs, previous MasterChef: The Professionals winner, Steven Edwards.
Supporting Tourism in Brighton
After a productive and exciting few days in London, we would like to offer a note of thanks to the team at UK Inbound for organising such a great looking stand and for supporting members like the British Airways i360 who exhibited at the event.
We’re sure that the seeds sown at this event will bear fruit in future and we were proud to be representing both the British Airways i360 and the city of Brighton & Hove to this international audience. We’ll continue to attend events like this in future and support tourism across our wonderful city.
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(World Travel Market Images Sources: WTM)