Prior to the establishment of the BTA in 1969, British tourism had been promoted under the British Travel and Holidays Association, itself first created in 1929 as the Travel Association of Great Britain and Ireland. It ran the long-running "Come to Britain" campaign for 50 years prior to the establishment of the British Tourist Authority.
- The Development of Tourism Act 1969 gained Royal Assent, which set up the British Tourist Authority (BTA) along with national boards for England, Scotland and Wales, sponsored by the Board of Trade. Its first chairman was Sir Alexander Glen with director general Leonard Lickorish.
- A key message during the 1970s was “a place is only acceptable to visit if it is a pleasure to live in” – which was championed by BTA’s first chair Sir Alexander Glen.
- Marketing activities emphasised the people of Britain, the English language and the "intriguing blend of history and new achievements. London features as the capital of a new Europe, a world-leader of theatre and music, centre both of pageantry and the young".
- Countryside activities were promoted "from antique hunting in quiet Cotswold villages to skiing in Scotland's Cairngorms, climbing or pony-trekking in Wales, sailing or equitation in the West country" along with the message that Britain was a country for "all seasons".
- Press and advertising activity took place in 22 countries, making wide use of press, radio, television and films, supported by the BTA's 24 overseas offices with close relations with travel trade and carriers.
- Overseas promotion focused on both maintaining traditional markets and developing new markets by concentrating on specific types of travel, eg motoring visitors, young people and business and conference visitors.
- The year saw an increase of 16% in overseas visitors to 6.69 million to the UK.
- "Holidays in Britain” brochure produced. Over 1 million copies in 25 editions and 12 languages.
- "Britain - October to March" publication supported BTA's work in promoting off-peak travel and appeared in 17 editions in 10 languages, with a circulation of 311,000 copies distributed.
- The Foretaste of Britain '71 was a special promotion organised by the BTA in co-operation with the Egon Ronay Organisation. The aim of Foretaste of Britain was to make better known overseas the wide range of world-class hotels and restaurants in Britain, together with the "many civilised leisure pursuits enjoyed by visitors to this country". 50 leading food and travel writers and gastronomes from 15 different countries attended the four-day event in November 71. The PR activity resulted in 500 feature articles praising British hotels and restaurants around the world and in turn hundreds of thousands of pounds' worth of publicity for the Come to Britain campaign.
- Films and music campaigns featured heavily in 1971, such as The Song of Britain film, The Welcome Inn and Cotswold Journey, produced with British Leyland Motor Corporation.
- BTA's short film on London, A City for All Seasons, won first place in the Gold Camera Awards at the US Industrial Film Festival in Chicago, and a Bronze medal at the Atlanta International Film Festival.
- 46 educational tours took place for travel agents from 21 countries including the US, Mexico, Australia, Argentina and European countries.
- The first centrally coordinated world advertising campaign, “Britain – a Treasure House of History”, was mounted in 21 different markets.
- The Taste of Scotland campaign in co-operation with the Scottish Tourist Board and the British Airports Authority took place aimed at North American and European markets.
- The first Welsh joint overseas promotion for Tenby was carried out in the Netherlands and Belgium.
- The radio department produced over 1,780 tapes to be sent out overseas. They contained programmes for broadcasting organisations and individual stations around the world.
- Three major films were produced: Splendours of Britain made with Wilkinson Sword Ltd; Gardens of Britain and Windows on the Past, highlighting Britain's museums.
- The Song of Britain film won the Gold Camera Award at the US Industrial Film Festival in Chicago.
- BTA produced and distributed a range of books on the countries and regions of Britain which included maps and itineraries. 19.3 million pieces of literature were distributed around the world.
- Britain joins the European Economic Community on January 1 1973, BTA co-operated in planning and promoting the ‘Fanfare for Europe’ celebrations.
- A London Bus on tour visited 23 cities in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland – 43,000 people visited the bus and 8,000 enquiries were made.
- The Oil Crisis led to “The Reassurance Campaign” to assure visitors of a warm welcome and emphasise Britain as a place of value for money and "little inconvenience".