INTERNATIONAL NEWS: Britain goes tooth and nail vs. foot and mouth

LONDON: The British Tourist Authority (BTA) has launched a

three-tiered campaign to woo visitors in the wake of the country's foot

and mouth disease crisis.



The UK government's Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions

(DETR) has also initiated a tourism program, specifically to attract

people back to the country. The DETR campaign will feature advertising,

PR and a help line that is being manned in partnership with the tourism

industry.



BTA began providing would-be visitors with reassurance and information

on the disease two weeks ago. BTA's Web site (www.visitbritain. com)

includes a database of about 7,000 UK attractions with information about

their current accessibility. BTA's senior directors have appeared on

American TV, including ABC, NBC and CNN.



Potential tourists in the US have been confused about the disease.

'Americans call it 'hoof-and-mouth' and when they heard 'foot-and-mouth'

there was an assumption being made that it was hand-foot-and-mouth

disease, which can affect humans,' said Elliott Fisby, a BTA press

officer.



'We are now tending to say 'hoof-and-mouth' in American markets.'



The government will provide about pounds 10 million (dollars 14 million)

in funding for the next two stages of the campaign, which will focus on

mid- and long-term tourist improvement. Fisby said BTA is considering

retaining a PR agency.



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