Queen and Guards to help lure tourists


The Queen and the Coldstream Guards will be at the heart of a worldwide campaign to market the UK which signals the dumping of "Cool Britannia".

The move aims to help tourism recover from the severe impact of foot-and-mouth and the US terror attacks which is forecast to lead to losses of more than £1 billion ($1.5 billion) over the next three months.

It sees the British Tourist Authority (BTA) return to marketing traditional attractions, with Great Heritage, Great Sport, Great Cities and Great Countryside the focal points of the campaign, a British media report said.

The decision to drop Cool Britannia comes after the BTA discovered that young visitors want castles and royalty, rather than pubs and clubs.

The organisation jumped on the Cool Britannia bandwagon in February 1998 with a publication called "UK: The Guide" which unashamedly latched on to youth culture themes of "sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll".

That meant extolling the virtues of topless model Melinda Messenger, the Teletubbies and rave band The Prodigy, infamous for the song Smack My Bitch Up.

"We thought we were giving them what they wanted by telling them about club life and pub life," said Jeff Hamblin, the BTA s chief executive.

"But research revealed that they come for the heritage as well. They want something they don't have at home. They can get a beer or go to a club anywhere."

The Great Heritage theme will mean promoting historic buildings and castles, Buckingham Palace and the Queen in her Golden Jubilee.

The Coldstream Guards, who made a huge impact on US visitors when they played the American national anthem at the changing of the guard ceremony two days after the September 11 attack will be a key component.

"The goodwill from that and the sight of the guards in their red tunics has been fantastic," said the BTA.

On sport, David Beckham's appeal will feature while the Commonwealth Games in Manchester will also be central.

The launch of the Harry Potter film next month is also expected to generate huge interest in Britain as a holiday destination.

Promotion of the Great Cities will focus on destinations such as London, Stratford-upon-Avon, Bath and York, which have lost out from the desertion by American tourists.

The campaign will cost £5million.