BTA partners to develop Methodist tour

NEW YORK -- Furthering its ongoing niche marketing efforts, the British Tourist Authority here partnered with Burbank, Calif.-based Christian operator Trinity World Tours to develop tours celebrating the 300th anniversary next year of the birth of Methodist Church founder John Wesley.

The John Wesley 2003 campaign is part of a drive to position Great Britain as the world's No. 1 special interest destination, according to the BTA.

As part of that effort, the organization tailors product to several market niches, including seniors, who may comprise a good number of those interested in Wesley tours, said David Andrews, BTA director for the central U.S.

"We're hoping to get 40 to 50 groups to book the tours," he said. "And a lot of them will fall into the seniors category."

For groups of 20 or more, Trinity World Tours is offering both suggested Wesley itineraries -- in eight-, 10-, 12-, or 14-day versions -- and customized tours; large groups select dates of travel.

Meanwhile, smaller groups of 10 to 15 may join scheduled departure tours of eight, 10 or 11 days in length. Trinity World Tours and the BTA launched the Wesley promotion with a mass direct mailing of a flyer that highlights areas of Britain connected with the Methodist movement.

Recommended stops include Epworth, the birthplace of Wesley; Oxford, where he graduated from Christ Church College; and Bristol, home to John Wesley's Chapel, the oldest place of Methodist worship.

In addition to the tours, several related events include and Ecumenical Celebration in Lincoln Cathedral and the Oxford Festival of Sacred and Inspirational Music in October.

There are an estimated 8 million Methodists in the U.S.

More information on John Wesley 2003 can be found on line at www.travelbritain.org/wesley2003.

To contact Trinity World Tours, call (800) 454-2325, send and e-mail to [email protected] or visit www.johnwesley2003.com on line.

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