Bumper crop of visitors in 2012 thanks to Facebook friends

London’s event spaces could be full to the brim if Britons help promote the nation using a new social media toolkit from VisitBritain.

The national tourism agency is targeting the visiting friends and relatives (VFR) market of internet users. It’s encouraging them to use digital posters, e-cards and a Facebook application to sell Britain to those based overseas.

Users are able to personalise their greetings in the ‘Share Your GREAT Britain’ campaign and they even stand to win prizes in an online draw. Additionally, international invitees could win return flights to the UK from their home country.

“This is an innovative and personal way of encouraging more visitors to the UK and comes at a time when we want to ensure Britain is top of everyone’s holiday wishlist,” tourism minister John Penrose declared on VisitBritain.com.

His colleague, Sandie Dawe (VisitBritain’s chief executive) explained that this latest campaign formed part of a comprehensive four-year plan designed to promote Britain around the globe.

It started with the successful launch of a series of films endorsed by celebrities, who extended their own personal invitation to foreign tourists.

Speaking about the latest drive, Ms Dawe said: “2012 is the year to be in Britain – with a raft of new festivals, exhibitions and events marking the Diamond Jubilee, celebrations of Shakespeare and Dickens and the hosting of the Olympic Games.”