VisitBritain brings big gun to attract visitors

NEW YORK -- British tourist authorities brought out a big political gun to help launch an upcoming recovery campaign to spur visits from the U.S.

The U.K.'s tourism minister, Kim Howells, arrived in New York for a six-day U.S. tour aimed at paving the way for a $2 million media blitz by VisitBritain, formerly known as the British Tourist Authority.

The "Bounce Back" campaign, set to begin June 2, features 30-second TV spots in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles; print ads in Sunday newspapers in 10 major markets; and direct mailings to 240,000 consumers.

Partners in the VisitBritain effort include Whitebread/Marriott Hotels, British Airways, American Airlines, and Radisson Edwardian Hotels.

Howells said VisitBritain hopes to attract 60,000 additional U.S. visitors to the U.K. this year as a result of the campaign; U.S. arrivals to Britain were down 12% in March.

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