GCI to save UK tourism from threat of foot-and-mouth

LONDON: GCI Group has beaten two unnamed firms in the contest to

help the British Tourist Authority (BTA) rebuild the UK's tourist

industry amid the foot-and-mouth disease crisis.



'Spending by overseas visitors was expected to rise in 2001 by around

2%, worth an estimated dollars 19 billion,' said Sandie Dawe, BTA's

marketing communications director. 'But we now estimate that the fall in

inbound tourism following the outbreak will cause a drop in revenue of

between dollars 2.2 billion and dollars 3.6 billion,' she warned.



GCI's London office will lead the account, working with BTA's in-house

team to convince would-be travelers that the UK is a safe

destination.



Ten principal markets will be targeted initially, including the US,

Canada, Germany, Australia and New Zealand.



BTA's efforts to restore travelers' confidence have included a briefing

issued this month to the travel trade press detailing the economic

impact of the tourism decline. They have also included an explanation of

BTA's three-tiered recovery marketing plan.



This month, the leaders of 40 international travel associations were

taken on a four-day tour of London, Cumbria, Southwest England, North

Wales, Edinburgh and the Scottish Highlands to dispel misconceptions

about the disease's impact on the country.



The foot-and-mouth crisis has been a huge story in the UK and

elsewhere.



'The thing that troubles everyone is all the pictures of burning

cattle,' said Bob Feldman, president and CEO of GCI. 'In the future we

need to ensure that the coverage is balanced and get out a great deal of

positive information about what's going on in Britain.'



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