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
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
'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.'