Dubai – MENA Herald: VisitBritain and Turkish Airlines have announced a new global marketing partnership to attract more international visitors to Britain, with a focus across the airline’s five regional gateways which include Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh, as well as London’s Heathrow and Gatwick.

This new partnership will see VisitBritain and Turkish Airlines develop an international marketing campaign over the coming 12-months and will initially focus on Saudi Arabian, Indian and other Gulf markets. The campaign will inspire more visitors to see what makes Britain a GREAT destination, and explore all the nations and regions of Britain through the airline’s current gateways.

Partnering with a national tourist board on a global partnership is a first for Turkish Airlines, which is currently the world’s 7th largest airline, flying to more countries globally than any other carrier. Turkish Airlines was also this year chosen as the Best Airline in Europe for the fifth year running by the Skytrax Passenger survey.

Inbound tourism is Britain’s fifth largest export industry and contributed more than £26 billion to the UK economy in 2013.

VisitBritain Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said: “We are very pleased to be the first national tourist body to develop a global partnership marketing campaign with Turkish Airlines. There are significant growth opportunities in the markets served by Turkish Airlines, including the emerging market of Saudi Arabia, using the airline’s global connectivity and rapidly expanding network. This partnership will also allow us to target our marketing to inspire more international visitors to come and explore all the nations and regions of Britain, so we can continue to create jobs and deliver our ambitious plans for growth.”

Turkish Airlines Chief Marketing Officer Mr Ahmet Olmustur said:

“This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for Turkish Airlines and we are delighted to be teaming up with such an acknowledged and reputable brand as VisitBritain. The travel market in the UK continues to go from strength-to-strength and therefore we strongly believe this partnership will further enhance visitor numbers in the UK in the coming year. Turkish Airlines is always investing in the UK and, along with partnerships such as this, we hope to see big inroads being made in terms of visitor numbers.”

In India, VisitBritain’s partnership with Turkish Airlines will see the launch of a tactical digital campaign in early 2016. India is one of Britain’s most important emerging visitor markets, with almost 400,000 visits from India in 2014, a four per cent increase from the previous year. Turkish Airlines is also supporting VisitBritain’s ‘Bollywood is GREAT campaign’, focusing on promoting Britain’s culture and countryside.

As part of its wider digital and print campaign, VisitBritain is partnering with film studio, Dharma Productions, in promoting regional Britain destinations that were used as locations for the Bollywood movie ‘Shaandar’ including Yorkshire and Durham, to be released in Indian cinemas this Thursday 22 October. Turkish Airlines is the airline partner of the campaign where two Indian couples stand to win a pair of business class tickets to explore Britain.

In the Gulf, the marketing activity kicks off this week with a promotional campaign focusing on Saudi Arabia, an important emerging market for both organisations.  In 2014, Britain saw 144,000 visits from Saudi Arabia, with that figure expected to almost double by 2020. Turkish Airlines has invested steadily in this market and now fly out of seven cities from Saudi Arabia, providing even more connectivity to regional Britain via its Istanbul hub.

The 12-month marketing partnership marks the start of a longer term alliance between VisitBritain and Turkish Airlines. The longer-terms plans could include more promotional activity focused in Turkey with the travel trade press to develop and promote the UK tourism offer and get more British products ‘on the shelf,’ including ‘familiarisation’ trips for the Turkish travel trade and media.

Turkish Airlines will move to its new hub at Istanbul New Airport in 2018 with an expected 120 million passengers a year expected to be flying through the new airport by 2020 – 70 million of those on Turkish Airlines. The new airport is currently under development with the first phase expected to open in 2018 and upon completion in 2023 will be one of the world’s largest airports with a capacity to handle 200 million passengers.