Bid to extend tourism season across east Suffolk including Aldeburgh, Southwold and Felixstowe
Tourism chiefs want to make east Suffolk a visitor hot spot 365 days of the year by capitalising on the area’s natural beauty, seaside resorts, culture and heritage.
Suffolk Coastal and Waveney district councils have unveiled their joint, draft tourism strategy for 2017 to 2022, which aims to get people spending more time and money there.
In 2015, the visitor economy brought in half-a-billion-pounds to east Suffolk and generated 12,500 jobs.
Keys attractions like boating on Thorpeness Meare, Southwold beach and pier, the ‘House in the Clouds’ in Thorpeness, rowing on Oulton Broad, The Scallop sculpture on Aldeburgh beach and Snape Maltings draw in tens of thousands of holidaymakers on a seasonal basis, but bosses want to bring them in all-year-round.
Michael Ladd, cabinet member for tourism and economic development at Waveney, said leaders wanted to bill east Suffolk as a great place for active tourists who want to go walking or cycling come rain or shine.
He said: “You can walk along the coastline in the bracing sunshine in March and it is just as nice if not nicer than struggling to find somewhere to park in August.”
Mr Ladd added: “Tourism is, whether you like it or not, one of those important economic factors of a costal resort so I think we have to embrace that as much as we can because it does employ a lot of people and it is vital to the whole economy.”
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Geoff Holdcroft, cabinet member for economic development at Suffolk Coastal, said: “We have got lots of tourists at this time of the year but the idea is to spread them out and bring them here in the winter, autumn and spring too.
“The Suffolk coast is a great place to get active, walking, cycling or sailing, and we have some lovely forest trails to cycle as well as the roads.”
The report, which will be presented to the councils’ cabinet members next month, outlines a number of projects to be undertaken over the next five years to boost tourism.
These include creating new boating lakes in Southwold, and encouraging more visitors to Lowestoft seafront by putting on walking trails.
An events and festival guide will be drawn up for Felixstowe and the town’s tourism website Visit Felixstowe will be improved.
There are plans to establish a more robust events programme at the Long Shop Museum in Leiston, as well as a tourist information centre in Framlingham and a historic trail around the Deben Peninsula.
Wickham Market could be getting a fresh village website and mobile app, while leaders wants to enhance the cycling facilities in Framlingham, Aldeburgh, Saxmundham and the Deben Peninsula.
The author of the document writes: “This visitor economy strategy will build on our strengths and direct us to develop compelling offers for visitors and inward investors and that combine our unique natural assets and way of life with new and innovative visitor experiences, a well maintained infrastructure, and excellent destination marketing.
“Our key aims are to increase the volume and value of tourism, to extend the tourist season, to create compelling destinations and to link visitors more to experiences.”