Blair backs bikes (sort of)


By Eileen Murphy, Consumer Affairs Correspondent, PA News

British tourism chiefs today teamed up with environmentalists, countryside groups and transport organisations to promote a "greener" Britain to potential overseas visitors.

The British Tourist Authority (BTA) worked with Ordnance Survey, the National Trust, the Countryside Agency, BritRail and national tourist bodies to produce a new campaign, Green Britain for the New Millennium.

The campaign features a fold-out map featuring millennium attractions which focus on the environment as well as outdoor activities and modes of transport to appeal to the environmentally-friendly visitor.

Attractions featured in the campaign include the Earth Centre in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, the Millennium Dome at Greenwich, the National Wildflower Centre in Liverpool and the Millennium Forest for Scotland.

The campaign aims to attract "green" visitors from around the world over the next two years and Prime Minister Tony Blair has shown his support by writing the foreword to the brochure.

He explained how Britain was investing in and celebrating the nation's natural environment as part of the millennium celebrations.

Launching the campaign BTA chief executive Jeff Hamblin said he believed Britain's green heritage had the potential to increase the number of visitors from abroad.

He said: "Increased leisure time and more disposable income is resulting in people looking for holidays which provide self-enrichment.

"The trend towards holidays which stretch the mind and body will, I believe, mean tourism going greener - green both in terms of eco-tourism and in the activities visitors will be pursuing like walking and cycling.

"Last year four out of five of the 26 million people who visited Britain said that our countryside and heritage were very important in their decision to come here.

"A campaign for the millennium promoting green Britain was clearly a must for BTA as it is a commitment to conserving the nation's natural resources and promoting diversity in a sustainable manner."

Last year 26 million visitors spent £12.8 billion in Britain.

Target markets for the campaign include the United States, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Scandinavia.

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