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Friday, 20 April, 2001, 11:56 GMT 12:56 UK
Very Important Postcard

Tourism chiefs from around the world have been whisked around Britain on a red-carpet trip aimed at convincing them the UK is "open for business", despite foot-and-mouth disease.

But they have had a visit few ordinary tourists could aspire to, travelling on private jets, dining in the finest restaurants and meeting royalty.

BBC News Online wondered what these VIP holidaymakers might have written in a postcard home.

Hi y'all,

Having a great time in Britain, Europe. I don't know what all these reports about transport chaos are talking about - we've had no problems.

Edinburgh Castle
Four castles in three days - can't remember which is which
Our jet from London to Scotland left on time and the three course lunch was excellent.

We landed in Inverness - just like Madonna - before going to a ruined castle and a cruise of Loch Ness. Didn't see the monster - hope it's not been culled.

Ended the day with a sleep in Bonnie Prince Charlie's room at the Culloden Hotel.

Wednesday, Lady Cawdor showed us round her home - Castle Cawdor which is where Shakespeare's Macbeth plotted his murders, I think.

Later flew to Edinburgh where we had dinner on a little boat called the royal yacht Britannia.

Royal yacht Britannia
Dined like royalty here
Thursday we flew to a place in England called Blackpool - we hoped to visit the town as someone thought they spotted the Eiffel Tower on the way in, but our guides said we had to hurry off to the Lake District.

Didn't see any pyres or smell any smoke at all apart from roaring log fires in the 19th Century hunting lodge where we stayed. But we did have to wipe our shoes on a disinfectant mat.

Saw an Elizabethan stately home with some awesome gardens, went on Lake Windermere (in the snow) and looked round the house where Wordsworth, the daffodil poet lived.

Friday it was back to London where we met up with the group from Europe who tell me they flew around Cornwall in a helicopter before landing at the Eden Project.

Blackpool front
For some reason we didn't stop here
We were all driven to Windsor Castle and were met by Prince Philip who showed us round - I've heard of working royalty but I didn't know they did guided tours.

I'm writing this on the coach to Chequers, where we are lunching with Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Then we are off to Downing Street to meet Cherie and the Culture Secretary Chris Smith.

What a great trip, it's really easy to get around the country, every other person you meet is an earl or duchess living in a castle and we did it all on a shoestring.

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20 Apr 01 | UK Politics
Red carpet for tourist leaders
17 Apr 01 | Scotland
Global tourist chiefs see Scotland
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