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26 Oct 2017

VisitBritain turns to Paddington in latest promotional campaign

VisitBritain is turning to a bear from Peru to boost tourism, with a new film campaign inspired by the upcoming release of Paddington 2.

Last year set a record for inbound tourism to Britain on visits and spend, with 37.6 million visits up 4 per cent on 2015, and visitors spending £22.5bn (US$29.8bn, €25.1bn), up 2 per cent.

The Paddington sequel, based on the children’s book series by English author Michael Bond, follows the young bear as he explores London. Among the many iconic locations featured in the film are Tower Bridge, St Paul's Cathedral, London Paddington station, Portobello Road and Little Venice.

VisitBritain has partnered with StudioCanal on the campaign, which will be driven through an online hub and on social media. Visitors to the hub will able able to view Paddington-themed content, including an interactive marmalade-inspired menu, and bookable visitor experiences. Promoting ease of travel around the UK, the campaign also includes a competition to win a family trip to Britain to explore London by train.

“With his distinctive blue coat and his love of marmalade, this Peruvian bear, who made Britain his home, helps to inspire visitors from around the world to come and explore the wonderful and exciting experiences that the UK has to offer,” said Clare Mullin, VisitBritain’s director of marketing.

"Our collaboration with StudioCanal is a fantastic opportunity to promote to a global audience of millions the fun and adventurous destinations that can only be experienced on a trip to Britain, be it afternoon tea in central London, taking a stroll around one of the many parks and gardens, or catching a train for a new adventure from Paddington station.”

According to VisitBritain research, pop culture is a powerful motivator for travel, with more than a third of all potential visitors to Britain wanting to visit places they have seen in film or on TV.

Ireland and Northern Ireland have both capitalised on this trend, focusing tourism campaigns around the Star Wars and Game of Thrones franchises.

Earlier this year, VisitBritain also launched its “Magical Britain” campaign, which was launched to coincide with the 20th anniversary of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. In Scotland, tourism chiefs have banked on a film adaptation of Compton MacKenzie’s 1947 novel Whisky Galore to boost visitor numbers in some of the country’s lesser-known areas, while further afield, Japan has designated 88 anime 'sacred spots' in effort to boost international tourism.

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