LONDON: As part of a drive to increase tourism in the UK — already the 7th most visited country worldwide — a promotion is being launched to encourage GCC tourists to travel to London, Manchester and Birmingham, then on into the English countryside.

The “Experience England” initiative is being coordinated jointly between the three largest English cities and will focus specifically on tourists from the GCC, India and China.

According to research by London & Partners, the Mayor of London’s not-for-profit promotional body, fewer than a third of visitors staying overnight in the English capital go on to stay overnight elsewhere in the country, but researchers found that levels of visitor satisfaction increases significantly when people visit other destinations.

Some of the top places to visit in the English countryside include the Jurassic Coast of Dorset, Bronte Country in Yorkshire and the Lake District, according to

 London is home to the ten most popular tourist attractions in the UK and we’re proud to welcome millions of visitors every year. But it’s important that they have the chance to see what’s on offer in other parts of the country too and I’m committed to working with other cities and regions to use the capital’s reputation to drive tourism across the nation,” the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said in a statement.

Tourism makes up 9 percent of GDP in the UK, but in London the figure is even higher at 11.6 percent. In 2016, almost 1.5 million visitors arrived into the UK from China, India and the GCC, according to the latest full-year figures from VisitBritain.

China, India and the GCC are projected to be some of the fastest growing tourism markets in the world. Visits to London from China, India and the GCC are expected to grow by 103 percent, 90 percent, and 36 percent, respectively, according to research by London & Partners.