Tourism agency boosts U.K. festivals

Overseas visitors offered a discount through VisitBritain

LONDON -- The Association of Independent Festivals will be part of a £1.8 million ($2.65 million) marketing initiative organized by tourism promotion agency VisitBritain.

The European Value Campaign, aimed at the 25-35 age group, will roll out across 18 European countries this month. It will include press advertising, direct mail and a Web microsite.

Using the slogan "See More for Less," the campaign will focus on the benefits offered by the weak pound and Britain's relatively compact land area.

AIF members -- who include Bestival, Big Chill, Creamfields, Field Day, Secret Garden Party, Summer Sundae Weekender and Womad -- are offering overseas visitors a 20% discount on festival tickets when they purchase through the VisitBritain Web site. Each of the 18 countries included (except Russia) has a local language Web site where the tickets can be booked. Other partners include Jurys Inn, easyJet and BritRail.

In a statement, AIF said that negotiating its inclusion in the promotion shows that it has "demonstrated its potential to give smaller festivals a larger presence, achieving collectively what its members could not achieve individually."

"VisitBritain has been completely open to our thinking and ideas, and shares a similar understanding of the true importance of the great British festival to U.K. tourism and creative culture," said AIF co-founder Ben Turner, who brokered the deal. "I'd like to think this is relationship that will grow and grow as we mirror the trend of people wanting to base international holidays around music festivals. We believe that this new genre of tourism is now officially recognised through VisitBritain."