BTA aims to increase U.S. arrivals

NEW YORK -- The British Tourist Authority said it is planing a major drive this year to lure more U.S. travelers to Great Britain.

In 1997, more than 3.4 million Americans visited Britain, an increase of 14% compared with 1996. Estimates for last year put U.S. visitors at 3.8 million.

Great Britain, already the No. 1 overseas destination for U.S. visitors, will increase its tourism marketing budget to promote new attractions and special millennium events, the BTA said.

More money will be spent on advertising and marketing, and resources will be allocated to further develop the BTA Web site, www.usagateway.visitbritain.com, the BTA said.

Jeff Hamblin, the BTA's chief executive, said the added funding will "help the BTA compete more effectively with high-spending rival destinations in the increasingly competitive international tourism market."

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