Timeline - 1990 to 1999

The 1990s


  • Joint promotions this year included a venture with B&B GB and the Farm Holiday Bureau introduced 135 member farmhouses into a central booking system; a promotion with the British Arts Festivals Association and the Society of West End Theatre
  • Further ventures included working with British Rail International to produce Discover Britain in six languages with a total print run of 1.4 million copies.
  • More than 400 British suppliers took part in BTA organised workshops in Edinburgh, London and Bath with around 1,000 overseas buyers. 



  • Three Japanese women all dressed the same in a black dress and large white sun hats with a black bow celebrating 25 years of BTA in JapanBTA’s first TV advertising campaign breaks in France backed by all six cross-channel sea carriers and aimed at independent French motoring visitors.
  • BTA celebrated 25 years in Japan and took the lead in opening a representative office in Osaka in recognition of the growing value of the Kansai region to international travel.



  • In February 92, Destination Britain, the first full-scale tourism workshop was held overseas in Ostend, Belgium. European and long-haul buyers are invited to meet British suppliers and take part in fam trips.
  • A new BTA travel centre was opened in Stockholm to give visitors a chance to plan itineraries, buy travel and entertainment tickets and book accommodation. 
  • BTA won nine various awards around the world for its marketing efforts over the year including the USA, Australia, France and Germany.



  • BTA supports a campaign to keep London buses red after plans were put in place to privatise LDN buses, as it would deprive the capital of one of its potent symbols and marketing tools.



  • 50th anniversary D-Day campaign. Ad in newspaper showing an older man's face next to a young soldierNew activity in Japan – A 24-hour “fax back” where people could ask for information on Britain to be sent to their fax machine. Approximately 10 million households in Japan owned a fax machine. BTA also release the “Mook” - a magazine/novel guide to Britain for Japanese visitors.
  • The BTA’s activities were responsible for some £750 million or 7.5 per cent of the total inbound tourism spend  For every £1 of public money invested in the BTA, £23 is generated for the British economy.
  • The BTA supports to a campaign to change ‘Sunday Trade Law’ which would allow large shops to open six hours on a Sundayand in turn increase visitor spending opportunities.
  • 50th anniversary D-Day campaign in the US to encourage WW2 veterans to commemorate D-Day in Britain. The campaign included ads in major American newspapers, a D-Day suppliment in Travel and Leisure magzine and an appearance on the Today Show.
  • BTA research segmentation of USA visitors includes “The Britophile” – a repeat visitor who knows a lot about Britain and likes to stay in B&B’s.



  • Ad showing a red telephone with the text 1-800-GO-2-BritainBTA refines its marketing and looks at market segmentation by focusing its efforts on specific groups of customers, finding out what appeals to them and delivering it, eg. Japanese office ladies, Dutch motorcycling enthusiasts and US theatregoers.
  • A new toll-free number is introduced in the US to provide information about travel to Britain including weather, accommodation and theatre. the number, 1-800-GO-2-BRITAIN, received 540,000 calls a month.
  • BTA to only promote accommodation establishments that are subscribed to nationally agreed quality standards.



  • BTA’s new website, visitbritain.com, is launched and plans are made to tailor the site to local markets in the USA, Asia and Europe.
  • BTA encourages VAT to be slashed (17.5% current) to 8%. If this to happen expected to generate add 10 million extra visitors in four years (by 2000).



  • In September BTA’s new tourism marque is unveiled by Secretary of State for Culture, Chris Smith.
  • Mr Bean promotion to encourage German visitors to travel to Britain. Have you Bean to Britain? peel off stickers allowed visitors to order information packs about Britain.
  • 40,000 copies of a "brash, bright and abrasive" magazine - UK 99 The Guide - aimed at under-25s distributed to BTA offices worldwide was produced. Sponsored by National Express, the magazine told readers "If you're looking for nothing more from your visit to Britain than the Changing of the Guard and Westminster Abbey you're probably on the wrong side of 40".


Mr Bean promotion ad. The text reads Not yet Bean to Britain? Also includes two covers of UK the Guide one showing a young woman in at t-shirt, another with a young man in sunglasses


  • Britain Now is the time – Three-year marketing campaign in the lead up to the 2000 millennium. A brochure featuring 15 separate routes that overseas visitors could follow to experience 2,000 years of British history was produced as part of the campaign. 
  • Around 50 "millennium Britain" events were held in 27 key overseas markets.
  • VisitBritain's website won the International ENTER Award for Best National Tourist Office site, It also won Best Official Website of all 29 OECD countries. 



  • During this year the BTA focused marketing efforts on six global segments - Youth, Families, DINKS (Double Income, No Kids), Empty Nesters, Seniors and Business Tourism - with campaigns to match.
  • With the millennium ahead, BTA ran a Britain: Now is the time campaign capitalising on £5 billion National Lottery investment into Britain's cultural and environmental heritage creating an unprecedented range of new attractions. 
  • The English Tourism Council (ETC) established by the Secretary of State.


VisitBritain/VisitEngland logo. Celebrating 50 years