EXPLOREGB 2016, VisitBritain’s largest tourism trade event, has been hailed as the most successful ever. The event, which was held at ACC Liverpool on 3rd and 4th March, saw more than 300 international travel buyers from 40 countries descend on Liverpool to do business. They met with some of the leading suppliers and attractions from across the UK, with a total of 30,000 meetings taking place. Buyers from Britain’s largest and most valuable markets including the USA, Germany, France, Canada and Australia attended as well as those from China, the world’s largest outbound market. This was followed by an extensive programme of post event visits for both the buyers and international journalists putting Liverpool and the north, as well as other parts of Britain, in the international spotlight. VisitBritain Director Patricia Yates said: “Liverpool was a fantastic host city and our 600 ExploreGB delegates who were here to do business, as well as the international journalists, will be returning home in no doubt as to the great facilities and products on offer here to tourists and businesses alike.” Chris Brown, Director of Marketing Liverpool said: “This was a terrific couple of days which showed Liverpool is a heavyweight destination for trade events. The different partners in the city – hotels, attractions, museums and suppliers – brought their ‘A’ game and really made a stunning impression. The highlight for me was seeing Liverpool suppliers walk into the conference on Friday morning looking ten feet tall after the glowing feedback the city received on the first day.” Diane Glover, Marketing Manager at The Beatles Story said: “Hosting ExploreGB 2016 gave us the opportunity to showcase our fantastic city in all its glory to a range of top quality buyers from across the world. From award-winning attractions and hotels to the hospitality and infectious Liverpool welcome, the city and its people were buzzing throughout the event and everyone made it a week to remember.” Latest figures from VisitBritain show that the North West welcomed 2.1 million visitors in the first nine months of 2015, a 12% increase on the same period in 2014. The latest figures available for Liverpool show that inbound tourism to the city increased 8% in 2014 with 605,000 international visitors compared to 558,000 in 2013. Overall, 2015 set a new record for inbound tourism to Britain with 35.8 million visits, 4% up on 2014 and the fifth consecutive year of growth. VisitBritain’s forecast for 2016 shows that the growth is set to continue this year with 36.7 million visits expected.