Please click here to download VisitBritain's latest reactive statement. VisitBritain has also provided the following update on the situation in Russia and other markets following the recent TIER meeting held last Friday:
The Chief Sanitary Doctor gave an interview to Russian State TV Company for the evening news, where he said that he "signed instruction to the regions so that not a single group of children could depart from Russia to the UK in August".
We are in discussions with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to see if they are willing to make representations to the Russian Government and will let you know if the situation changes.
As mentioned at the TIER meeting on Friday, Tobias Ellwood MP, Shadow Tourism Minister for the Conservatives in Westminster held a briefing meeting yesterday afternoon in the House of Commons with representatives from VisitBritain, VisitEngland, the Tourism Alliance, UKinbound, BHA, English UK, Travelodge, Hilton, RF Hotels, BALPPA, Tragus, AOA, BBPA, Guoman and BAO. The meeting provided an opportunity to brief Tobias on the current H1N1 outbreak; the coverage of Britain and the handling of the outbreak in the media of our most important overseas marketing; and the impact on inbound and domestic tourism business.
The meeting received a situation report from Bernard Donoghue on behalf of VisitBritain and TIER and then discussed key issues for the UK industry arising from the outbreak:
- there have been some cancellations and postponed trips from countries including China, Japan, Greece and Italy
- there has been recent negative coverage of the outbreak in Britain in Greek and Italian media
- many businesses have experienced some cases of swine flu, including amongst staff, but thus far this has had a negligible effect on business
- concern was expressed as to the implications of a future decision to change the current self-certification period of 7 days to 14 days
- concern was expressed about the potential of cancellations by overseas school and English language groups to the UK
- there was unanimity that the VisitEngland and VisitBritain tourism marketing messages domestically and overseas should be that there is no reason to cancel a trip to Britain and that marketing messages should continue promoting the value and attractiveness messages
- TIER should continue to be used as the single co-ordination vehicle on this issue
- Tobias indicated that given the group might meet again in October, after the peak of the current outbreak and prior to the envisaged Autumn/Winter outbreak.
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