Virgin Atlantic, VisitBritain and Marketing Manchester have joined forces in a two-year partnership to promote the airline’s new direct routes from San Francisco and Boston, into Manchester, England

The seasonal routes, which took flight March 28 and 29, respectively, will operate three times per week from San Francisco and twice weekly from Boston. As of May 2017, additional flights will take-off from New York JFK to Manchester.

These three new services will provide Americans on both coasts with easier access to Northern England, with Manchester providing an ideal point of entry to this popular region. The San Francisco route, in particular, creates an unparalleled opportunity for customers in California, the top performing state for inbound arrivals to Britain.

The campaign, ‘It All Starts In Manchester,’ is headlined by four videos showcasing the diverse experiences visitors can have in Northern England, that all start on arrival in Manchester. Photographed in a first-person style, using camera phone videography, the videos showcase the region’s strong ties to sport, culture, outdoor and nightlife in an authentic way. Running across Facebook and Instagram, the videos will be complimented by digital display ads, sponsored content and influencer engagement with Inside Out Media.

All content will drive to a campaign microsite.

“Flying with Virgin Atlantic is always that little bit more special, and we’re pleased to offer even more opportunities for our U.S. customers to experience our service. We are the only airline to offer fully flat beds between San Francisco, Boston and Manchester, and provide unrivalled customer service across all cabins, including complimentary meals and hundreds of hours of the latest inflight entertainment,” says Chris Rossi, SVP North America for Virgin Atlantic.

“Recast for the 21st century as the original modern city, Manchester’s tourism industry is thriving and a great deal of this success can be attributed to the development of new routes into the region with airlines such as Virgin Atlantic, which help to position Manchester Airport as the Gateway to Northern England,” says Sheona Southern, Managing Director at Marketing Manchester. “We look forward to offering visitors a warm welcome to the region.”

“We are delighted to be working with Virgin Atlantic and Marketing Manchester to introduce new visitors from Boston and San Francisco to all the amazing moments they can experience in Northern England,” says Paul Gauger, Interim Executive Vice President Americas for VisitBritain. “Thanks to the favourable exchange rates and these new nonstop routes, there has never been a better time for Americans to discover Northern England as a hotbed of culture and music, and a magnet for those who love sports and the outdoors.”

Britain is offering great value for U.S. visitors right now. As of the end of February 2017, Britain was 13% cheaper for visitors from the U.S. than it was compared to the same month last year.

The US is Britain’s most valuable visitor market, worth more than $3.7 billion annually to the UK economy. Latest available figures show that there were 2.7 million visits from the US to Britain from January to September 2016, up 3% compared to the same period the year before. Visitors from the US spent $3.1 billion from January to September last year across Britain, up 9% on 2015 figures.

Last year was a record-breaker for overall inbound tourism to the UK with 37.3 million visits, up 3% on 2015 with visitors spending $27.7 billion, matching 2015’s record spend.


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