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Check out the alligator British Airways is using to promote Tampa flights



By: Frances McMorris | Posted on: 26 May 2016

In a push to get more visitors to Florida and Tampa Bay, in particular, British Airways recently launched a unique campaign using models body-painted to look like an alligator.

Passengers of British Airways flying out of Gatwick Airport in the United Kingdom saw what appeared to be an alligator on the runway, but it was an optical illusion. Three female models had undergone five hours of body painting.

An artist transforms three female models into an alligator.

Body painter Johannes Stoetter said, "When British Airways asked me to create an alligator I couldn’t wait. I normally paint and photograph my artwork in a studio, so to see my artwork in front of one of the airline’s planes on a runway was a truly great experience and possibly one of the most challenging yet."

The campaign was developed completely by the airline, but it coincides well with Tampa Bay's intensifying efforts to lure more international travelers.

Recently, Santiago Corrada, CEO of Visit Tampa Bay, the official marketing arm for Hillsborough County, called for more hotel rooms in this county alone, saying the demand is outstripping supply. In fact, April was the first time the bed tax (more formally known as the tourist development tax) collections exceeded $3.5 million for a month. Taxes collected by Hillsborough County in April totaled $3,576,430, a 4.21 percent increase over the same month in the previous year. This takes the collection of bed taxes for the first seven months of the fiscal year to $17,748,668, or 11.91 percent over the same period in the previous year.

“We thoroughly enjoyed this funny and creative approach to drawing visitors to Tampa Bay and Florida,” Corrada said.

On its website, British Airways describes Tampa as “something for everyone.” The airline, offering a four-night holiday to Tampa, says, “Get ready for adrenaline-pumping rides and thrilling attractions at Busch Gardens Tampa theme park. Discover the thriving cultural scenes of Sarasota and Bradenton. Or slow down and stretch out on the pristine beaches of St. Pete and Clearwater, or Fort Myers.”

British Airways flies from Gatwick to Tampa seven times a week; from Gatwick to Orlando 13 times a week; and from Heathrow Airport to Miami 14 times a week.