Essex’s multi-billion pound boost

TOURISM in Essex has been defying the gloomy economic times with visitor numbers up, bringing nearly �3billion into the local economy it has emerged.

Latest figures have also revealed that visitor numbers to the county have increased by more than 4%.

The information for last year suggest more people are spending holidays at home in the UK - known as “stay-cations” during the tougher economic times and have been welcomed as “heartening” by the Essex county councillor in charge of tourism.

According to the study, complied by East of England Tourism, Essex welcomed more than 40 million visitors last year, estimated to have generated a total of �2.75 billion for the economy.

And those people choosing to come to the often maligned county have been spending more money when they do arrive helping to create more jobs.

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It showed the vast majority of visitors to Essex were “day trippers”, taking advantage of the region’s warmer temperatures and attractions.

Jeremy Lucas, in charge of tourism at Essex County Council, welcomed the news which was also

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He said: “Tourism is a huge industry for Essex and it is heartening to see such positive figures at such a time of economic uncertainty.

“Essex is a fantastic destination for day visits or short breaks, and with half-term upon us I would really recommend people wrap up warm and get out to discover a new part of Essex for themselves.

“From farmer’s markets to family Halloween fun there really is something for everyone.”

At the beginning of this month the county’s official tourism body, Visit Essex, hosted a conference for colleagues in the tourism industry to look at how to benefit from the fast-approaching London 2012 Games.

A spokeswoman added: “With its proximity to the main Olympic site in Stratford and Essex hosting the London 2012 Mountain Bike events at Hadleigh Farm, the partnership is committed to leveraging this once in a lifetime opportunity for the good of local attractions and businesses.”

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