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Newmarket: Visit Suffolk looks to town’s racing heritage to attract more visitors from China

11:23 05 March 2014

The main stand on Newmarket

The main stand on Newmarket's Rowley Mile racecourse.

Øivind Arvola

A party of 10 leading tour operators based in China will be visiting Newmarket next week as part of a drive to attract more Chinese visitors to East Anglia.

Next Tuesday’s one-day tour, focusing on the town’s horseracing heritage, has been devised by Newmarket Experience in partnership with Visit Suffolk and Suffolk County Council.

It will begin with a welcome at the four-star Bedford Lodge Hotel in Newmarket, followed by a visit to The Gallops to watch horses being put through their paces.

The party will then tour the Kremlin House and Shalfleet training yards before moving on to view the Palace House Stables site which is being converted to create a National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sport Art.

Following lunch at Paddocks House, at nearby Six Mile Bottom, the party will tour the National Stud and the Rowley Mile racecourse and visit the Animal Health Trust. The day will conclude with a dinner at the Jockey Club Rooms and an overnight stay at Bedford Lodge.

Amanda Bond, brand manager at Visit Suffolk, said that, with only one day available to impress the visitors, Newmarket had been chosen as the right fit for the Chinese market.

“China offers huge potential to the visitor economy and by 2020 will be one of the main contributors to a 60% growth in global tourism,” she said.

“By working in partnership with Newmarket Experience, we have pulled together a truly inspiring visit in and around the home of horseracing, carefully matching the experiences with the Chinese visitor, which we hope will feature in future operator itineraries.”

The visit has been organised as part of a wider partnership between Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk county councils to build economic links with China.

On Monday, the party will be touring Essex, including visits to Ingatestone Hall near Chelmsford, Topsail Charters in Maldon and jam maker Wilkin & Sons in Tiptree, with lunch at Lantern House in Chelmsford and dinner at the Crowne Plaza Five Lakes resort at Tolleshunt Knights.

And on Wednesday, the group will move on to Norfolk, visiting locations including the gardens and museum at Sandringham, the Cley Marshes wildlife area and Norwich Castle.

Richard Smith, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for economic development, environment and planning, said: “We all know what a fantastic place Suffolk is to work, rest and play in; we now need to blow our trumpets harder and wider to extend our unique offer to those increasing numbers of Chinese tourists, both individual and groups, looking for ‘destinations’ that can offer a package of experiences.”

Kevin Bentley, deputy leader of Essex County Council and cabinet member for economic growth and infrastructure, said: “Chinese tourists are becoming a major segment growth opportunity for the UK tourism industry.

“We are making sure that Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk are visible and competitive destinations for Chinese visitors by working closely with private businesses, Chinese tour operators and other partners in China.”

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