The industry stands to lose around £2.5bn this year. Tourist spending was originally forecast at £13bn in 2001 but is now expected to drop by 20% to £10.8bn.
The campaign, which will break in January and run for three months, will have a strong "reassurance message" and focus on the UK's four "key strengths: great countryside, great heritage, great cities and great sport."
Initially the US, Canada, Germany, France, Belgium, Ireland and the Netherlands will be targeted. Funds will be relocated from a £14.1m grant provided by the government following the foot-and-mouth crisis. The campaign will also be backed by the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations and the Commonwealth Games.
In 2000, there were 25.2m visitors to the UK, including more than 4m from the US, the largest group.
The BTA will be working with the government organisation COI Communications when agencies pitch for the contract. Key tourism companies, including airlines and hotels, have pledged to work in partnership with the BTA for the campaign.
Tourism is one of the largest industries in the UK, worth approximately £63.9bn in 1999. It accounts for between 2.8% and 3.9% of GDP and employs 1.9m people.
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