ETC makes site its promo centerpiece

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NEW YORK -- VisitEurope.com, the Web site of the European Travel Commission, has been revamped and made the centerpiece of the 29-member organization's promotional efforts this year.

According to Einar Gustavsson of Iceland, the ETC's U.S. chairman, the Web portal is expected to be of primary importance in reaching the millions of people who have yet to visit Europe and to serve as a powerful tool for ETC's 29 member countries marketing their destinations in North America.

"We are reorienting everything to our improved Web [site]," said Gustavsson, "to capitalize on the explosion of Internet access and use by Americans and to position VisitEurope.com as the place to go before you go to Europe."

According to Gustavsson, the message is being relayed to the public by five television spots, launched on March 29 and running for four weeks in leading markets: New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

The 30-second spots, created by WCBS-TV in New York, are positioned largely with news shows on the CBS affiliates. Seed money for the television campaign was provided by 27 of the ETC members, joined by partners MasterCard International, AT&T, Rail Europe and Insight Vacations, whose products will be detailed on the Web site.

Promotion will be further enhanced by ETC's Invitation to Europe supplement, which appeared in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times on Sunday, April 2.

VisitEurope.com updates all ETC member information, said Gustavsson, and viewers will be able to find the latest news on what's happening this year, trip-planning tips and links to individual countries.

By the end of April, the Web site will list 2,000 travel agencies in 25 cities and participants in the recent European Roundtable and Supermarts. Consumers will be able to locate nearby agencies through a ZIP-code search feature.

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