YORK'S resident Roman tour guide Maximus Gluteus will be flying the city's flag at a top tourism event next week.

The Roman, also known as tour guide Keith Mulhearn, has been enlisted by York Tourism Bureau to officially launch the city's new Groups Guide on Wednesday and Thursday at the British Travel Trade Fair (BTTF) taking place at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham.

BTTF is the premier annual business-to-business travel and tourism event, with more than 500 exhibitors and 3,000 domestic and international travel trade professional attending each year.

The event is an ideal opportunity for the tourism bureau to network with tourism operators throughout the United Kingdom and a great opportunity to sell York as the perfect holiday destination for groups.

The New Face of the Groups Guide features some of York's most famous characters, including a Roman, a Viking, a jockey, Dick Turpin, a ghost hunter, a station master, Guy Fawkes and York's very own street performer Mr Yellow.

Four thousand copies of the new guide will be printed. To promote the new

guide York Tourism Bureau will be mailing 10,000 York postcards to group

travel organisations throughout the UK, reaching a very wide target market.

Gillian Cruddas, chief executive of York Tourism Bureau said: "York's presence at BTTF is crucial to ensure that we are recognised as one of the country's leading group travel destinations alongside cities such as London, Bath and Edinburgh. We are confident we will increase group business to York over the coming year."

Updated: 10:22 Thursday, March 20, 2003