Festival's �5m boost to local economy

LOCAL businesses and attractions are hoping for a multi-million pound boost from the Latitude Festival this weekend.

Jonathan Barnes

LOCAL businesses and attractions are hoping for a multi-million pound boost from the Latitude Festival this weekend.

Promotional agency Choose Suffolk said it was working with organisers of the festival, which got under way last night, to encourage festival-goers to spend as much time exploring the county as possible.

It is teaming up with local attractions - including Pleasurewood Hills, Easton Farm Park, RSPB Minsmere and Africa Alive - to offer special deals to festival-goers.

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B&B and guesthouse owners have also reported a roaring trade over the duration of the festival, which runs until Sunday night.

Alex Paul, from Choose Suffolk, said it was believed Latitude could be worth up to �5million to the local economy, based on figures in an Arts Council report.

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He said it was important to make the most of such high-profile events, which will bring visitors from across the country.

“Festivals and events can effectively drive tourism and can make a real difference to tourism businesses in the county,” he said.

“Suffolk boasts a number of high class festivals with local, regional, national and international significance and Choose Suffolk is working hard to maximise the opportunities and effects of hosting these events.”

Mr Paul said he hoped people visiting Suffolk for the first-time this weekend would be keen to come back.

“By hosting events such as Latitude, Suffolk can also position itself as a dynamic and contemporary destination on a national stage,” he said.

“Suffolk is one of the capital counties for premier festivals and Choose Suffolk will be using this unique positioning to develop the brand of Suffolk as a first choice destination for visitors.”

Up to 25,000 people are expected each day at Henham Park for the music and arts festival, and it is hoped many of those will also enjoy other local attractions.

Some attractions are offering special deals to Latitude visitors during festival-time, on production of their festival wristband or ticket.

Festival boss Melvin Benn said he was very keen to help the local area benefitted from the festival.

“You cannot get a B&B in the area,” he said. “They are completely and utterly sold out and not just for the day as there has been a lot of to-ing and fro-ing beforehand.

“A lot of people see it as an opportunity to come down here and camp for the weekend. They quite often head down to Southwold and go to the beach in the morning before coming back to the festival in the afternoon; almost like a little holiday.”

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