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Essex: National tourism chief visits county

L-R: Matthew Rowe, managing director of firstsite, James Berresford, chief executive of Visit England and Lisa Bone, Visit Essex strategic tourism manager, pictured in firstsite art gallery, Colchester.

L-R: Matthew Rowe, managing director of firstsite, James Berresford, chief executive of Visit England and Lisa Bone, Visit Essex strategic tourism manager, pictured in firstsite art gallery, Colchester.

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England’s tourism chief has described the revamped Colchester Castle as one of the finest museums he has visited.

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James Berresford, chief executive of Visit England, was given a whistle-stop tour of Essex this week to see a showcase of the county’s top attractions.

Among the sites he visited were the firstsite art gallery in Colchester, Layer Marney Tower, Lifehouse Spa at Thorpe-le-Soken, as well as some hidden gems such as Jaywick Martello Tower and West Street Vineyard, Coggeshall.

It was also a chance to meet councillors, Visit Essex board members and attraction owners.

Mr Berresford said: “I was hugely impressed by the Essex tourism offer. My visits to Colchester, Tendring and Maldon, and meeting such passionate tourism professionals gave me immense pleasure.

“The quality on offer is impressive. Colchester Castle has perhaps one of the finest museum experiences I have come across in years.

“There is immense potential to develop the tourism economy of Essex. I and my team look forward to working with Visit Essex in the future to promote their great county.”

Sue Lissimore, a county councillor and vice-chairman of Visit Essex, said: “Tourism plays an increasingly important part in the economy of our county, with visitors from within Essex as well as further afield. I am glad we have been able to give the chief executive of Visit England such a good feel for what we have to offer.

“I hope it will result in a further boost to tourism in the county.”

George Kieffer, Visit Essex chairman, added: “Essex is such a diverse county, packed full of fantastic attractions, it was difficult to decide where to take Mr Berresford. But I think we got the mix of old and new, heritage and leisure, just right.

“Now he has seen for himself what a great county we have, I hope we will work even better together to promote Essex to the rest of the country and further afield.”

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