Janet Street-Porter and Visit Britain

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Dame Judy Dench ad

Dame Judy Dench ad

Glancing over the shoulder of a lady reading the Daily Mail today, I thought I saw a story that said “Who would you trust to sell Britain” or something similar. But it couldn’t be because I was off to the press conference to hear all about it. But yes Janet Street-Porter had decided to write a hatchet job about the new Visit Britain campaign to persuade visitors to come to Great Britain without even attending the launch.
A year ago, the secretary of state for culture and etcetera tasked Visit Britain with finding £100 million of promotional money which had to come equally from them and the public sector. Now with nine partners and the money there or thereabouts, Visit Britain launched its new campaign. Using the slogan “You’re invited,” five celebrities – the brief is that they have to be internationally known – front the first part of the campaign. They are Judi Dench, Dev Patel, Twiggy, Jaime Oliver and Rupert Everitt. The criticism from Street-Porter was that was did we really want to over 60’s promoting Britain? Or a millionaire self-publicising chef whose last TV venture in the US was shunted into graveyard slots. She wrote, “I could devise a more inspired campaign in ten minutes.” So, do it then! But then would Ms Street-Porter attract or deter visitors if she was in the campaign? Her answer is to use Wills and Kate since it is the monarchy and our heritage that attracts most visitors – or Americans at any rate!
She also points out that the Visit Britain track record over the last few years in attracting visitors hasn’t been great which is partially true. And also that the money spent could be used for schools etc. Perfectly true, but she fails to notice or understand that tourism brings money, jobs and growth which could help to pay for those.
We, the great British public, are being asked to do our job in the third stage of this campaign that starts in the Autumn. Then they want us to invite our friends and relatives across.
Why do I include this story when it is the role of Visit Britain to attract visitors to us? Because some of the promotions might encourage us to visit parts of the UK. The 30 second advert which started last night on BBC America and overseas sites was crisp and sharp, unlike the films made by the five celebrities where the slogan seemed disjointed and an afterthought to the theme.
My modest complaint would be that Visit Britain works on behalf of all our countries (except Northern Ireland which falls under the Tourism Ireland banner) and it would have been nice to have someone from Wales (eg Tom Jones, Katherine Jenkins, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta Jones) and Scotland (Sean Connery, Dario Franchitti, Jack Vettriano, Evelyn Glennie) included. But they may be in the second tranche that we are promised.

image courtesy of Visit Britain

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