NEW YORK -- The British Tourist Authority will roll out two
promotions for 2001, focusing on Britain's cities and its gardens.
BTA chairman David Quarmby said the organization will soon issue
a brochure titled U.K. City Culture, with information on a dozen
urban centers in England, Scotland and Wales.
The guide will cover cultural attractions and activities in each
city, including things like opera, theater, dance, shopping, dining
and so on.
While much attention in the past year has focused on the
Millennium sites and attractions in and around London, Quarmby
noted that many British cities have been making similar
improvements in their tourist infrastructure, and BTA wants to get
out the word about that.
For example, many older, industrial centers in Britain have
revitalized their docks or riverbanks with new shopping and
restaurant complexes, he said.
Cities covered in the brochure include Belfast, Glasgow,
Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Cardiff,
Bristol, Bath, London and Brighton; there will be a corresponding
Web site at www.ukcityculture.com.
Meanwhile, BTA early next year will launch a promotion of
British gardens, with the publication of a visitors' map and the
opening of a special Web site extension at
"Britain is the No. 1 destination for gardens worldwide,"
Quarmby said, "because we have more of them that are open to the
public than anywhere else in the world."
The new map will include locations and information on some 100
of Britain's most famous gardens, some privately owned and some
publicly held, but all open to visitors.
The Web site will be more comprehensive, with information on
some 400 gardens, he added, including data like opening and closing
hours and price of admission.
"The core objective of he campaign is focused on the independent
traveler," Quarmby said, but the BTA's regional offices will work
with the trade to assist them in developing garden-oriented
packages for groups.
Both promotions should also help the BTA toward its goal of
steering more inbound tourists to places other than London, which
attracts about half of all visitor numbers and visitor
Timothy Lovell, the BTA's vice president,USA, said he expects
visitor numbers from the U.S. to climb by about 2% this year,
topping the 4 million mark for the first time, with spending
expected to grow to more than $4.5 billion.
He and Quarmby noted that the rest of Europe is anticipating an
even greater increase from the U.S., which they attribute to the
fact that the Euro has declined significantly more than the pound
against the U.S. dollar.
Quarmby said the BTA is expecting another increase in visitors
next year, even though the agency has put so much emphasis on trips
to Britain during the Millennium Year.
To that end, BTA will again sponsor its annual road show for
travel agents next winter, which is expected to draw some 2,000
retailers, Lovell said.
He added that BTA is also expecting to attract more members of
the trade into its destination training program, BritAgent
Specialist, which currently has some 446 graduates and should grow
to about 1,000.
Agents who earn that designation are listed on the BTA's Web
site and are given referrals from BTA and priority for agency fam
Lovell also noted that the BTA's site, now in its third year,
has significantly eased the burden for the telephone staff at the
organization's information center in New York, where consumers and
agents can call an 800 number for assistance in travel
The Web site is now drawing some 125,000 visits a month, he
said, while call volume at the information center, which peaked at
some 35,000 calls per month, has dropped to around 20,000.