New bid to attract cultural tourism to region backed by Suffolk and Norfolk

Snape Maltings Concert Hall in winter

Snape Maltings Concert Hall in winter - Credit: Archant

A new bid to attract hundreds of thousands of tourists to the region by emphasising its cultural attractions is being launched across Suffolk and Norfolk.

The two county councils have engaged Southwold-based communications agency Spring to work on a campaign to attract visitors to the region.

East Anglia is home to some of the leading arts festivals in the country, but there is a belief across the tourist industry in the region that with better publicity, many more visitors could be attracted to them.

Erika Clegg, from Spring, said the culture on offer, combined with the region’s easy access to London, the Home Counties, and the Midlands, gave East Anglia a huge advantage.

She said: “If you look at how culture has become key to the economy of the cities of the north west, there is much for us to work on.

“I’ve known Liverpool for many years and for a long time it was a bit of a cultural desert. Now it has a really thriving scene and is attracting people from a wide area.

“We are much nearer London and the south east than the north west – and have fantastic cultural offerings throughout the year.”

Most Read

One of the main attractions of festivals is that they attract visitors outside the traditional summer season, providing a regular stream of customers for hotels, restaurants and other tourist businesses.

Among the attractions on offer are Aldeburgh Foundation events around the year, The Bury Festival, Ip-art and other events in Ipswich, and concerts at Newmarket and in Thetford Forest.

This is in addition to attractions such as museums, stately homes and heritage sites across the region – and the cross-border nature of the campaign is an acceptance that visitors don’t recognise county boundaries when choosing what to visit.

Ms Clegg added: “Culture is one of our greatest mutual assets and tourism is undergoing a period of growth. This is an exciting and much-needed opportunity to raise the profile of our region, bring more people to enjoy these beautiful counties, and really show Norfolk and Suffolk’s light to the world.

“We are delighted to be involved.”

Tourism is currently worth £4.6bn annually to the two counties, of which approximately £2.8bn and £1.8bn is generated by Norfolk and Suffolk respectively.

Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for localities, environment and waste Rebecca Hopfensperger said: “Suffolk is a great place to live, visit and invest in. I am delighted that we have been able to contract a vibrant, internationally significant local business to deliver this project.”

In 2010 there were 1,787,000 staying visitors in Suffolk, staying a total of 6,525,000 nights. The total number of day visitors was 24,808,375.

Tourism in Suffolk supports 17,131 full-time jobs, and 34,237 tourism-related jobs in total, equating to 11.3% of the workforce. The total business turnover is £1,755,306,500.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter