Brecks: Tourism boss insists area has lots to offer
MORE accommodation and stronger branding will be the key to attracting millions of pounds of extra tourist revenue to the Brecks, the head of England’s top tourism body said after a visit.
The area, which includes Thetford Forest and straddles the Norfolk and Suffolk border, received 4,004,000 day trips worth �121m in 2007, but only 383,000 overnight stays worth a total of �55m.
After visiting Swaffham, High Lodge Forest Centre and Elveden, Visit England chief executive James Berresford said the area has a “very impressive” amount to offer visitors, but other parts of the country achieve a higher proportion of people staying longer.
He said: “Day visitors are very important, but you clearly generate much more income if you persuade more people to stay overnight.
“If you can get some of the day visitors to realise there’s more to do than can be done in a day visit they will stay overnight.”
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He said three years ago he had not realised he was in the Brecks when he visited Swaffham, but praised recent efforts to raise awareness of the brand through entry signs at borders, promotional material and a focus on its food and drink offer.
The Brecks is not mentioned on the Visit England website, but Mr Berresford said the area is a “good, strong, distinctive destination”, and he hoped his organisation would signpost people to it.
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He also urged local people and businesses to act as ambassadors for the area, using the word Brecks to explain where they come from and explaining its attractions.
South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss said opening the area to more tourism would bring new attractions and services that benefit local residents, as well as boosting the economy.
She said: “It shows there’s a lot of things to do in the Brecks and lots of attractions but there probably is not enough overnight accommodation.