Right of Reply

The chairman of the British Tourist Authority replies to Nonie Niesewand's article on delayed millennium projects
Click to follow
NONIE NIESEWAND'S piece "Only 229 days and counting" argues that "sightseeing in Britain in 2000 with the British Tourist Authority (BTA) as a tour guide, will turn into a building-site-seeing trip". This is because a number of the millennium projects funded by the Millennium Commission and featured in a BTA brochure will not be completed by the year 2000.

In fact, the brochure referred to clearly states when each of the projects will be complete. Many of these will be up and running in the year 2000. They will form a lasting legacy, creating hundreds of fresh reasons for visitors to explore Britain well into the next century.

And, of course, the millennium is not just about looking forward, it's also an opportunity to look back at our past, which is why our brochure focuses on heritage and history alongside our new attractions.

The BTA has now held more than 50 millennium events overseas, presenting its vision of Britain as a tourism destination in the new millennium. These have been greeted with enormous enthusiasm (and not a little envy) by international audiences. They are very impressed by the scale of what's happening in Britain for the millennium and no one, so far, has quibbled over the fact that not every project will be complete by 1 January 2000. In any case, our brochure has a three-year shelf-life and so will be in use until 2001.

Instead of debating the detail of project opening dates, we should be celebrating the fact that Britain is doing more than any other country in the world to mark the millennium. It's a shame that some choose to focus on the negative and cannot take the same pride in the transformation of Britain as a place to visit as we at the BTA do.