Tourism is worth more than £5bn a year to Suffolk and Norfolk

(left to right) Pete Waters, executive director, Visit East of England; Jeanette Wheeler,
New Angli

(left to right) Pete Waters, executive director, Visit East of England; Jeanette Wheeler, New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership; Holly Loxam, VEE; Keith Brown, VEE director; Lord Leicester, President, Visit East of England; Martin Dupee, VEE director; Dr Andy Wood OBE, chairman, Visit East of England; Ian Russell MBE, VEE director; Andrew Proctor, Leader, Norfolk County Council; Helen Wilson, chair, New Anglia Cultural Board. Picture: KEIRON TOVELL - Credit: Keiron Tovell

Two of Norfolk and Suffolk’s foremost tourism and hospitality businessmen have become the new president and chairman of the region’s tourism organisation.

Lord Leicester of Holkham becomes president and Dr Andy Wood chief executive of Adnams of Southwold, becomes chairman of Visit East of England, formerly known as Visit East Anglia.

Lord Leicester said: “I’m delighted to be the organisation’s new president. The visitor side of my family’s own business, Holkham Hall and Estate enterprise, has increased enormously in the past few years, so I am very aware of its importance to the region as the largest sector and one of the main employers.

“This is an exciting time for tourism and I look forward to working with the industry to continue its success.”

Dr Wood said: “There is a big agenda to tackle, not least encouraging skills development and training, improving the perception of the industry, growing the year-round visitor economy and attracting more overseas visitors, particularly post-Brexit when we must ensure that we are seen as a welcoming and attractive destination.”

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“Working with partners and stakeholders in the sector, particularly the transport providers, gateways and local enterprise partnership, we want to ensure the East of England becomes a more top-of-mind destination. We must also work together to offer a collective voice when we are talking to government and national visitor organisations.”

The rebranding of Visit East Anglia as Visit East of England will include the launch of a new website in the New Year, working closely with the New Anglia Cultural Board.

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Executive director Pete Waters said: “This is great news for the region’s tourism industry and will give us the higher profile we need to represent the sector’s interests and help address its many challenges.

“It is important that this region has a credible, authoritative voice for its visitor economy, particularly at a time when a sector deal with the government is on the horizon.

“Our objectives continue to be converting day trippers to stay visitors and raising the overall tide of tourism towards the high-water mark of summer, but as Visit East of England we also want to work with the sector to create careers for life and growth opportunities.”

Doug Field, chair of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership said: “Tourism is worth more than £5bn per year to Norfolk and Suffolk’s economy. But more than that, our visitor and cultural assets are a vital part of our identity and offer to the world. We look forward to working even more closely with Visit East of England to support the sector to achieve even greater success in the future.

“The arrival of Lord Leicester and Andy Wood as president and chairman is a huge boost for Visit East of England.”

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