UK Exporters Offered Planes, Rooms and Automobiles

UK Exporters Offered Planes, Rooms and Automobiles

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UK SMEs with plans to export will be able to apply for free flights, car rentals and hotel rooms through a new initiative launched by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), writes Kate Horstead.

British Airways (BA), Avis car rental and Accor hotel group have joined forces to offer their services to small firms through the scheme, which will make it easier to start exporting by reducing the cost of attending tradeshows and meeting overseas contacts.

To be eligible for the free business class flights, car rentals and hotels giveaways on offer, firms must either be receiving support from a UKTI export scheme – such as the Tradeshow Access Programme, Gateway to Global Growth or Passport to Export – or be able to demonstrate that they have viable plans to start exporting.

“When a business approaches us for any of our programmes, we do a health check to see how robust they are, what processes they’ve got and to ensure they are ready to export,” said UKTI spokeswoman, Natasha Guerinoni. “For the flight offer we’ll put the firms through the same sort of process to make sure they will make the best use of these flights rather than going on a bit of a jaunt overseas.

“We will also put together a programme for the successful businesses around their flights and help them to meet the right people so they can make a decision whether or not they want to break into that new market,” she added.

BA is giving away 4,000 free flights, although businesses will have to pay taxes and charges, and Avis is offering 1,500 free car rentals. Accor has announced it will provide 5,000 free hotel rooms to eligible businesses.

“The details haven’t yet been finalised – for example, if a business gets a free flight, they won’t necessarily get the whole package including car rental and hotel room – but the information will be up on the UKTI website soon,” said Guerinoni.

Flights to all 150 of BA’s destinations are included in the offer. Successful firms will be given a code to book their flights through BA. All the international flights depart from London airports, but eligible businesses outside the capital will be offered complimentary UK regional flights to London.

To apply, firms should contact their local UKTI adviser or fill in the application form on the UKTI Advisory Network website.

UK Exporters Offered Planes, Rooms and Automobiles

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