Marketing Manchester activity update: February 2020 in review

With the impact of COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, now being acutely felt across both the tourism economy and business community, it’s more important than ever to pull together and support each other across Greater Manchester.

One of our biggest annual projects, Manchester at MIPIM, which was due to take place next week in Cannes has been postponed, as has JEC World which is a key event held in Paris for the advanced materials sector. ITB Berlin, the world’s largest travel trade show at which we have an annual presence and generate a lot of new opportunities, has been cancelled this week.

Hotels throughout the region are reporting lost bookings as groups from China and other markets cancel planned trips and several international conferences have also cancelled due to the ongoing situation.

Undoubtedly this is also a worrying time for businesses that heavily rely on the visitor economy. Manchester’s Chinatown is particularly vulnerable due to misconceptions.

With international travel patterns disrupted, there is an opportunity to promote local and domestic tourism this spring and into early summer, encouraging Brits that had planned international travel to take a holiday at home instead. In addition, there is a piece of work to do to encourage Greater Manchester residents to support the local economy by visiting businesses in the visitor economy that may be feeling the impact.

We are in conversation with Greater Manchester’s local authorities as well as our campaign partners and destinations across the north of England to co-ordinate a campaign to promote such activity and we would welcome any support or ideas from our partners and stakeholders. Please reach out to your main contact at Marketing Manchester to discuss this further.

In the meantime, we will continue to monitor the situation in regard to all international activity and update you with relevant information. VisitBritain continues to provide regular updates on their website specifically for the UK travel trade industry, whilst travel advice for concerned visitors is regularly updated by the UK Government.


News in brief

Outdoor advertising goes live in New York

Following on from news last month regarding our new city-to-city partnership with NYC & Company, our outdoor media campaign went live on 10 February and will run for twelve weeks until May.

Utilising NYC bus shelters and the digital Link NYC network, the campaign is live across all five boroughs of New York City and is expected to have over 100 million impressions. The campaign creative focuses on the vibrancy of Manchester and encourages people to book a long weekend travel to Manchester.

Complimenting the outdoor activity, a targeted digital media campaign will go live in March whilst Virgin Atlantic will deliver an online paid pay-per-click campaign to encourage bookings on the JFK-MAN route.

To find out more, contact


Delhi Delight as Manchester Airport secures direct route to Indian capital

The North’s ties with one of the world’s most important economies have been significantly strengthened by news that Manchester Airport has secured a direct service from New Delhi, the capital of India.

Virgin Atlantic will fly to the UK’s Northern gateway to Delhi three times a week, starting on 26 October this year. The route is the latest addition to Virgin’s growing long-haul network from Manchester, and its first travelling east. Its launch reflects the airline’s recognition of the strength of the North’s business and leisure market.

Speaking about the announcement, Sheona Southern, Managing Director of Marketing Manchester said:

“India is an important market for Manchester, and the subcontinent is a significant region of growth responsible for nearly 510,000 outbound visits a year and Indian visitors to the UK spending more than £490m annually.

“This new route launch will allow us to welcome this increasingly growing visitor market to Greater Manchester, positively impacting our region’s growing economy and adding a hugely beneficial link between Manchester and New Delhi with mutual interests in our growing tourism, business, investment and education markets.

“We look forward to further working with Virgin Atlantic, who have shown confidence in Manchester as an international visitor destination through the increase in capacity of its other routes, and the scheduled opening of the first Virgin Clubhouse outside of London at Manchester Airport.”

Read the full press release here.

To find out more, contact


Ryanair Europe campaign goes live

Our new in-bound European marketing campaign, delivered in partnership with Ryanair, went live in late February targeting Spain, Germany and Ireland, three of our largest source markets for international leisure visits.

The campaign activity incorporates a mix of social media, display advertising and retargeting, including the use of Instagram Stories for the first time, and has a consistent message of ‘Unmissable adventure in Manchester’, focusing on music, culture and sport.

To ensure the greatest impact our activity will focus on routes out of Barcelona, Girona, Rues and Madrid in Spain and Hamburg, Cologne, and Berlin Schönefeld in Germany, with over seven million campaign impressions expected. Alongside this, a small online and display advertising-only campaign will run in Ireland, with over 500,000 anticipated impressions.

Our campaign partners Ryanair are supporting the campaign with hugely competitive fares to Manchester for the campaign period to encourage bookings.

To find out more, contact


Marketing Manchester extends partnership with Lancashire Cricket

We are delighted to announce that we have extended our partnership with Lancashire Cricket for a further year until 2021.

The partnership will continue to see us work closely with the Club to drive visitors and spend to the Greater Manchester area, focusing on the high-profile cricket fixtures and award-winning Emirates Old Trafford venue. We will build on the joint work to boost visitors to the city, including enhancing the new Manchester-India partnership in conjunction with VisitBritain.

Read the full press release here.

To find out more, contact


Citizens of Manchester Campaign Update

Travellers arriving into Terminal 3 at Manchester Airport will now be greeted by the Citizens of Manchester campaign from Marketing Manchester, with bold and colourful graphics introducing some of the incredible individuals supporting the project first unveiled as the theme for MIPIM 2019. The Citizens featuring in the T3 graphics include graphene scientist Dr Maria IIiut; Double World-Champion Para Cyclist Jon Gildea; and lawyer, writer and restaurateur Helen Wong.

A new addition to the Citizens of Manchester campaign is a film featuring four members of the team at the People’s History Museum, including director Katy Ashton. It was produced in partnership with the People’s History Museum to celebrate its 10th anniversary in the former Pump House building and promote its 2020 programme theme of migration.

To find out more, contact:


GM Digital Blueprint Launch Video

Digital citizens are at the heart of a film made by Marketing Manchester to support the launch of the GM Digital Blueprint from Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

The GM Digital Blueprint film was shown to more than 250 people attending the blueprint launch on 6 February and is now available to view here. The film features contributions from public and private sector representatives including Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership Co-Chair Lou Cordwell; Councillor Elise Wilson, GMCA Digital Portfolio Lead; and Sara Todd, Digital Portfolio Lead Chief Executive for the Digital City-Region.

The GM Digital Blueprint Launch Video was produced by Marketing Manchester’s Manchester Content Curator, Simon Donohue, working in partnership with GMCA digital colleagues. It was updated from a film also made by Marketing Manchester to support inward investment in the digital sector which can be viewed here.

To find out more, contact:


Marketing Manchester attends UKInbound Convention in Bristol

UKInbound is the main trade body representing tourism suppliers and tour operators in the UK and one of their key events is the UKInbound Annual Convention – which was held in Bristol 4-6 February.

The main event in the 3-day conference is the full day of B2B appointments where Manchester had 22 meetings with Destination Management Companies and tour operators that play a key role in determining the detail of the itineraries sold by travel agencies. The agencies met covered all of our key markets of Europe, US, China, India and the GCC as well as Brazil, Japan, and South Korea. Interest in Manchester from the operators continues to increase as they look to add more nights and a greater variety of activities in the city

At the end of January Marketing Manchester also attended a European Tour Operators Association (ETOA) event, Britain and Ireland Marketplace, which included meetings with 30 tour operators from around the world.

To find out more,


Greater Manchester Strategy for the Visitor Economy 2020-2030 consultation survey

The current Greater Manchester Strategy for the Visitor Economy expires in 2020. Work is now being planned to develop and launch a new 10-year Strategy which will run from 2020-2030.

Marketing Manchester is keen to hear the views of as many members, businesses and individuals as possible, as we start the process of developing the new 10-year strategy. You can access the online survey here until 23 March.

To find out more, contact


Recent press coverage wins

Marketing Manchester’s press team carry out a year-round programme of press visits and media engagement to win national and international coverage for Greater Manchester. Below are a few recent highlights that you may like to read and share:

Kit and John’s GREAT BRITISH ADVENTURE: Manchester – GayCities (USA)

Manchester food and drink feature – The Independent (UK)

The best vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Manchester – Culture Trip (UK)

Five historic haunts in Manchester – EasyJet Traveller (inflight mag)

The best vegan restaurants in Manchester (blog) – Mostly Amelie (Germany)

Manchester guide (blog) – Culturez Vous (France)

Is this the UK’s most underrated travel destination? – Delicious (Australia)

You can also view the highlights from throughout 2019/20 by viewing our Twitter Moment here. As influential stakeholders your retweets, likes and shares for any media articles about Greater Manchester help to promote the destination organically.

To find out more, contact


What’s new in Greater Manchester: March 2020

Distributed to consumer travel and leisure media contacts, Marketing Manchester’s monthly What’s New update is an important piece of media relations work to keep journalists and influencers from around the world up to date on the latest developments, openings and trends across the city-region. To view this month’s newsletter, click here. To sign up to receive these updates directly to your inbox, click here.

To find out more, contact