U.K. Culture Minister Chris Smith released the National Tourism
NEW YORK -- The British have taken up the sword against
hoof-and-mouth disease, with multiple strategies now in place to
get its $96 billion a year tourism industry back on track.
Here are the latest developments:
Covering five tourism-related points, the document details the
steps that the government, the British Tourist Authority and
regional tourist boards are taking to reassure visitors that the
livestock disease poses no threat to their health or vacation
Efforts include everything from a slew of new Web sites that
provide updated information for travel sellers to media campaigns
and fam trips for industry leaders.
It also explains the criteria used to determine whether
footpaths and forests should be reopened, and outlines assistance
for ailing U.K. travel companies.More than 90% of Britain's rural waterways and canals were
reopened as of April 12, along with 1,000 hiking paths and dozens
of forests and woods in England, Scotland and Wales.Major rural sites have reopened, including Stonehenge and the
Home Park at Hampton Court Palace. Dozens more National Trust and
English Heritage properties were slated to open by April 15.A VIP delegation of industry leaders from the U.S. will be
accompanied by a film crew during its fact-finding trip to England
and Scotland this week.
Among the participants are ASTA president Richard Copland; Brian
Stack of CIE International and Peter Tauck of Tauck World
Discovery, both attending on behalf of the U.S. Tour Operators
Association; Nadine Godwin, Travel Weekly editor in chief; Patrick
O'Shea, a Far & Wide executive; former ASTA chief Michael
Spinelli, and other industry executives from the U.S., Canada and
As previously reported, the delegation will meet with Prime
Minister Tony Blair.
According to the BTA, the delegation was convened in part to
"help our government understand the impact that hoof-and-mouth is
having on the tourism industry."
The BTA will attempt to get the delegation's visit covered by
major news organizations.The BTA has contacted 15,000 U.K. attractions and is listing
all open sites on the Internet at www.openbritain.gov.uk.
Meanwhile, the culture secretary announced that four scientific
studies just completed indicate that the livestock virus might
already have peaked, prompting officials to hope that new
hoof-and-mouth cases will "be reduced to a trickle by June." There
were 1,249 confirmed cases as of April 12.
To read the National Tourism Recovery Strategy, click here.