BTA sets public-private effort to promote U.K.

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NEW YORK -- The British Tourist Authority launched its first-ever public-private, joint tourism promotion development effort with the British government, which agreed to match up to $28 million raised from the private sector for multimedia campaigns to begin in late April in North America and Europe.

The as-yet-unnamed campaign may supercede the BTA's current 'UKOK' promotion, which was launched in the U.S. in January.

The BTA already has secured some $7 million in pledges from 30 companies, including hotel chains Hilton and Thistle, and airlines BMI British Midland and British Airways, said BTA chief executive Jeff Hamblin, adding that U.S.-based suppliers were welcome to contribute.

With the government match, the promotion has $14 million available to begin development of a series of television, Internet, radio, billboard, print and direct-mail advertisements; the campaign eventually could total $56 million or more.

Half of all funds raised will be spent on marketing in the U.S. and Canada, reflecting the North American share of inbound tourist arrivals in Britain, said British tourism minister Kim Howells.

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Look for further details on the program in a future issue of Travel Weekly.

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