Timeline - 2000 to 2009

The 2000s


  • A global youth campaign was launched in February 2000 to attract more 17-25 year olds to Britain. The integrated campaign centred around promotion of a magazine and website uktheguide.com to encourage young people to visit.
  • As part of the campaign, BTA Ireland invited five of Britain's coolest DJs to take part in a tour - "Britain: Right Here, Right Now" - of Ireland's six largest student campuses and student unions, along with ads on youth radio stations. Over 100,000 postcards were distributed in cafes, bars and campuses. 
  • In Canada a special Britain supplement was produced for the Spring 2000 issue of Student Traveller, distributed to over 85 campuses across Canada.
  • Apart from youth, other campaigns targeted key segments of Families ("Family Britain" campaign); Double Income No Kids 'DINKS' (film tourism promotion); Empty Nesters ("Jewels of Britain" campaign focusing on premium hotels) and Seniors (Walking Britain campaign). 
  • BTA's new industry website visitbritain.com/ukindustry, was launched providing definitive information for the UK’s tourism professionals and the consumer site visitbritain.com was given a makeover. VisitBritain.com won Best Website in the Observer Travel Awards in July 2000.



  • The front cover of Bollywood movie map guide. 3 Bollywood stars feature against a red backgroundHarry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone campaign. Discovering the magic of BritainIn February the first cases of foot and mouth disease was discovered. BTA’s immediate action group (IAG) meets daily to review developments and co-ordinate activity, to show Britain is still a safe and attractive place to visit.
  • A three-year plan to expand the cruise industry was developed during the year. The "Cruise UK" plans included introducing new destinations and attractions near ports of call, develop broader itineraries around Britain and attract new cruise lines to Britain. 
  • In November, BTA launched the Britain is Magical campaign coincinding the release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. BTA's special 1-800-HEDWIG hotline was besieged by American and Canadian Potter fans interested in Britain. Harry Potter letterboxes were placed in children's libraries throughout Argentina.
  • VisitBritain.com was named Best NTO Website in the Travel Weekly Asia Golden Web Awards in March 2001.
  • BTA became the world's first National Tourist Office to open an Arabic language website. Inbound visits and spend from the Middle East and India visitors grew, inspired partly by 10 blockbuster Bollywood movies being shot in Britain. A Bollywood movie map highlighting film locations was launched to coincide with the trend.



  • The English Tourism Council (ETC) formed the Tourism Cabinet to review the national situation following the foot and mouth disease outbreak and coordinate information and activity. £3.8 million of funding was received to promote domestic tourism, and the ETC used the funding to set up a hotline for visitor information operating 10 hours a day for 12 weeks. The national hotline answered over 21,000 calls providing the latest visitor information and supporting the message that the countryside was open for business. In addition, marketing activity took place such as England - The Great Getaway which promoted day visits through ads in national press and regional activity through regional tourist boards and partners. We also launched Short Breaks, Long Memories - a campaign run in partnership with 11 large tour operators including Hilton, Marriott/Whitbread, Bourne Leisure, Hoseasons and more. Three websites were also created to promote special offers, an information portal and news and events. Together the three sites received over 8 million hits in two months. 
  • For the Golden Jubilee in June, BTA launched a £43 million ‘Only in Britain’ campaign across seven markets. This helped tourism recover from the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001 and the effects of 9/11. The campaign saw an additional 1.1 million visits in 2002-3. Britain was one of only three European countries to experience any increase in visits from the US that year. The “Only in Britain” campaign was seen as a “textbook” example of tourism recovery marketing and crisis comms strategy and was short-listed for a national PR award.
  • 3 magazine articles for Sports Tourism NewsFollowing the foot and mouth outbreaks and September 11 terrorist attacks in New York, BTA launches UK OK, its own £5 million recovery marketing campaign advertising Britain as the place to visit in 2002.



  • On 1 April 03 VisitBritain – the new organisation formed by the merger of the British Tourist Authority and the English Tourism Council – launched with new responsibilities to market England to the British. It launched the first England marketing campaign in a decade based on four themes – Experience, Explore, Discover and Relax.
  • Royal Tourism Day 10 June – The Queen & Duke of Edinburgh opened Britain and London Visitor Centre on Regent Street celebrating Britain’s tourism industry.



  • VisitBritain.com voted World's Leading Tourism Authority Internet Site at the World Travel Awards.
  • Enjoy England Short Break campaign is launched in European markets of Ireland, France, Germany and the Netherlands. 
  • New website and campaign to promote Business Tourism is established under the banner Meet England.



  • It was officially announced that London had won the bid for the Olympics in 2012. VisitBritain’s strategy was not just to promote the few weeks of the Games, but to make full use of the opportunities to promote Britain before, during, and after the Games, to reach new customers in emerging markets and to refresh Britain’s appeal in established markets.
  • We ran SeaBritain 2005 – a year-long festival of over 1,000 events exploring Britain’s maritime history, the way the sea touches our lives and to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.
  • The watersideEngland campaign was developed to support SeaBritain 2005 – to generate consumer interest in waterside leisure activities available in England.



  • Implemented a new three year strategy for VisitBritain 2006-2009.
  • Enjoy England campaign launched with a TV advertisment and magazine adverts as well as a Enjoy England/GNER partnership poster campaign. 
  • VisitBritain's largest film tourism marketing campaign to date kicks off, including "Visit Da Vinci Code" microsites translated into 5 languages. The CodeBreaker Sweepstake that ran alongside this project in 42 markets won a Gold Reggie Award from the Promotions Marketing Association of America.
  • We held Discovery, a meeting and incentive travel workshop facilitating meetings between 80 UK MICE suppliers and 80 international buyers in October.
  • The Storybook England campaign attracted 30,000 visitors to the dedicated microsite in its first week.



  • Visitbritain.com won the World's Leading Tourism Authority Internet Site at the World Travel Awards.
  • The second stage of the US focused campaign "be a BRIT different" generates over half a million website hits in under three months



  • VisitBritain.com won Travelmole's Best Tourism Board Website Award.
  • Destination Britain, VisitBritain's annual mission in China is hosted for the first time, with 88 overseas buyers and 2,500 one to one appointments for UK suppliers to meet these key decision makers.    



  • In December the LoveUK Facebook page was created.
  • VisitEngland is financially separated from VisitBritain and a new Chair of the board and Chief Executive are appointed.  



  • April 09 – Large-scale Value Campaign launched in April to help promote the advantageous exchange rate in Britain for visitors from Europe and America.
  • VisitBritain withdraws from England remit, as VisitEngland is launched as the strategic leadership body representing the public and private sector stakeholders of English Tourism. 
  • November – After 24 years in Hammersmith, VisitBritain’s head office moves to share offices with other government departments in Victoria, London.


VisitBritain/VisitEngland logo. Celebrating 50 years