D/FW campaign designed to draw international fliers

Officials at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport are trying to attract more international flights by wooing the passengers who would use them.

The airport and officials from the Dallas and Fort Worth convention and visitor bureaus plan to announce today a nearly $5 million marketing campaign to tout the North Texas airport as a convenient gateway to key markets in Latin America and Asia.

The campaign includes hiring sales representatives in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Santiago, Chile; and Mexico City. In January, the campaign will be extended to Seoul, South Korea, and a salesperson hired there.

Themes of the campaign include D/FW's designation as having the best customer service in North America, its two-year-old international Terminal D and Skylink train, and its speedy immigration processing.

"Everyone knows about [connecting in] Miami and Los Angeles, but not everyone knows about D/FW," said Jeff Fegan, the airport's chief executive, in a phone interview from Buenos Aires.

Connecting continents

Mr. Fegan said the campaign comes at a time when economic ties between Latin America and Asia are strengthening.

The two regions are growing quickly but can't yet reach each other with nonstop flights. Some aviation consultants have predicted that D/FW will become the nation's second-largest hub connecting the two continents.

"If you draw the circle route from Tokyo to Buenos Aires, you go right by D/FW," Mr. Fegan said. "We're on the natural trade route."

Copying Canada effort

Phillip Jones, chief executive of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the campaign is an opportunity to reintroduce the airport's and the region's new developments.

"The goal is more butts in seats and more heads in beds," Mr. Jones said.

Focused campaigns in key markets have proved successful for the visitor bureau in the past.

Mr. Jones said sales missions to Canada over the last three years have helped boost the number of Canadian visitors to Dallas from 10,000 in the first quarter of 2005 to 18,000 during the same period this year.


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