"Britain's favourite German" backs VisitBritain London 2012 campaign
Wednesday, 20 June 2012
June 20 - Olympic gold medallists Boris Becker and Lennox Lewis have joined golfer Colin Montgomerie as the latest ambassadors for VisitBritain to help market the United Kingdom on the back of London 2012, it was announced today.
The three star in videos under the "Sport is Great" banner, talking about what makes Britain special to them.
Their support coincides with VisitBritain unveiling former England captain David Beckham's top tourist tips for the new "Best of Britain" mobile app with Samsung.
The assembling of the three new VisitBritain sporting ambassadors marks the most recent phase of the national tourism agency's global GREAT campaign which aims to attract an extra 4.6 million visitors by 2015 spending £2.3 billion ($3.6 billion/€2.9 billion).
Becker, the winner of six Grand Slam titles, including Wimbledon three times, as well as an Olympic gold medal in the doubles at Barcelona in 1992, is filmed appropriately on centre court at the All England Club.
"I've been called Britain's favourite German, but quite honestly I don't think the list is very long," he says.
"London is my home away from home, two out of my four children were born in Britain and my wife fell in love with the place and couldn't live anywhere else.
"The thing I love most about this country is that the British are very hospitable and friendly.
"I like to socialise with people from every part of the world.
"I have a great interest in British music and the O2 is a great indoor arena, but if you love music then this summer Hyde Park will host all the best groups in the world."
Lewis (pictured), the last undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, is filmed in the East End, where he was born and brought up until the age of 12 when he moved to Canada, representing the country when he won the Olympic title at Seoul in 1988.
"Britain gives me a sense of history and pride, I was born in East London and as a youngster loved football and the fish and chips, and you can't get decent fish and chips until you come back to London," he says.
"Every time the Olympics come to a city they reinvigorate it.
"New transport links in East London are great, but even when the Olympics leave we'll see better housing and a better way of life.
"The people drive me back to the UK with friends I've known for a long time - a friend in Britain is a friend for life.
"Britain is a mix of different cultures, you need to travel around, hear different accents and go out to the countryside.
"A lot of people don't realise how beautiful Britain is, from Wales, to Scotland, to the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland, it's a lovely place to visit."
Montgomerie, winner of a record eight European Tour Order of Merit titles, harbours ambitions of ending his career by competing at Rio de Janeiro in 2016 when golf returns to the Olympic programme after a 112-year absence.
A Scot would be an appropriate winner as the sport has its roots there.
"Scotland has a history second to none and we like to think we welcome the world," Montgomerie says on the film.
"We are very patriotic here and proud of our heritage, including places like St Andrews, the birthplace of golf around 400 years ago.
"The scenery and walks in Scotland are things that visitors are drawn to, be it the Highlands or Islands in the north which is a very beautiful and picturesque part of the world, or playing our national sport at any of the 538 golf courses we have here in Scotland - the most per capita than anywhere else in the world."
The unveiling of the three sports stars follows last year's "You're Invited" campaign which featured award winning actress Dame Judi Dench, Sixties model Twiggy and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to try to capitalise on the international opportunity presented by the Olympics.
"Recruiting these three sporting legends to promote Britain around the world helps reinforce our appeal across different cultures and sporting tastes," said Sandie Dawe, the chief executive of VisitBritain.
"Britain's sporting heritage is being highlighted this year like never before, helping us to showcase a welcoming exciting Britain.
"This puts us on the wish list for visitors from new growth markets in Asia and Latin America and goes a long way to help revitalise our appeal in core markets such as Europe and the USA."
June 2011: "You're invited" British celebrities tell world as tourism agency begins London 2012 marketing campaign