Britain reaches out to U.S. gay and lesbian market

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NEW YORK -- One European tourist board that has been very active in the gay and lesbian market is the British Tourist Authority (BTA), which launched its first gay marketing campaign in the fall of 1997 and maintains an annual budget of more than $500,000 for selling gay and lesbian travel to the U.S. market.

The BTA also has a Web site, Gaybritain.org, and a toll-free line, (877) UK-RAINBOW, dedicated to gay travel.

"We are not treating this as a marginal exercise," said Louise Bryce, the BTA's director, western U.S. and campaign manager for the gay market nationwide.

"It's a significant part of our brand strategy in the U.S. market."

Bryce said that 100,000 copies of the 28-page Britain: Inside & Out were printed last year, and that 80,000 copies of the BTA's fourth stand-alone gay brochure will be printed this October.

Some resources are being shifted from the brochure to the Gaybritain.org Web site, which is being revamped to be more informational.

The BTA also initiated the Sizzling Cities -- Gay Capitals of the World Roadshow, a collaboration with other national tourist offices -- which in Europe has included France, Germany and the Netherlands -- and a dozen supporting suppliers.

The show will make its third annual U.S. tour of six cities this November and has an average attendance of 45 agents per dinner.

The U.K. has several cities outside London with a vibrant gay life, Bryce said, citing England's Manchester and Brighton and Scotland's Glasgow and Edinburgh.

In March 2000, the BTA ran a direct-mail campaign to 15,000 gay travelers focused on Manchester.

"We're fortunate to have four or five cities that we know gay American visitors can have a good time in," Bryce said.

British Tourist Authority
Mairead Linneen, marketing executive, gay trade activities
Phone: (310) 470-2782, Ext. 23
Fax: (310) 470-8549
E-mail: [email protected]

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