Backing from major businesses has put a tourism fund on track for a £100 million drive to make Britain "the must-see destination" of the next few years, Prime Minister David Cameron said today.
Tourism chiefs want to capitalise on this spring's Royal Wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton, as well as the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012 to attract a million extra overseas visitors a year to the UK.
A four-year marketing campaign, to be launched in the spring, aims to generate 50,000 new jobs and 2 billion in additional tourist spending, drawing in visitors not only from traditional markets in Europe and the US but also growing economies like China, India and Brazil.
Mr Cameron today revealed that companies including British Airways, DFDS ferries, lastminute.com, P&O and Radisson Edwardian have pledged cash and other support to help match the 50 million in public money committed by the national tourism agency VisitBritain to the campaign.
The Prime Minister said: "This year and next will see the eyes of the world focused on Britain as never before.
"A Royal Wedding, Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee and of course the London Olympic and Paralympic Games offer us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, not just for national pride and celebration, but also to promote this country as the perfect tourist destination, helping to create 50,000 new jobs and bring 2 billion more visitor spending to the UK."
In a speech last August, Mr Cameron challenged businesses to back the planned tourism drive.
"The response has been magnificent, with pledges of cash and kind from companies that mean we are well on the way to our target," he said today.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the global launch of the new campaign would "market Britain as quite literally the greatest show on earth".