Poll: Food and drink is one of the main draws for visitors coming to Suffolk, report reveals
- Credit: Sarah Groves
Suffolk’s culinary delights have become a key driver of tourism in the county, the East Anglian Daily Times can today reveal.
Preliminary findings from a survey, which is being conducted by the Alde and Ore Association, about the local economy and what brings people to Suffolk, show food and drink is one of the many draws.
Andrew McDonald, honorary secretary of the Alde and Ore Association, said: “We are halfway through the survey and what’s interesting is that quite a few people are saying it’s partly about food and drink locally with a variety of farmers markets.
“They have also mentioned fish and chips in Aldeburgh and the Aldeburgh Food Festival.
“There isn’t anything on the questionnaire about food and we were expecting people to say the scenery, landscape and bird-watching but a significant minority have said they come to Suffolk is because of all the good food locally.
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“It is something to add to a very long list of Suffolk’s attractions.”
A previous survey carried out in 2004 did not feature food or drink as an attraction.
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Mr McDonald described the early findings as a “little nugget” of information that brings people to the county from afar.
“We have got a reputation locally for being a brilliant place for farmers markets, new local food entrepreneurs and really great food shops,” he added.
The region’s tourism bosses have hailed Suffolk as an unique part of the country to travel to because of its diverse array of food and drink.
Keith Brown, chief executive of Visit East Anglia, said: “We have pretty much everything here from meat to fish, wine and spirits. And that’s quite unique.
“Several parts of the UK have got interest in a particular part of the food and drink sector but here in Suffolk we have a full spectrum which is really great news.”
Mr Brown believes it is the variety of high-quality and excellent value food and drink that sees people visit the county.
“That is a very important component of where people decide to take shorter and longer breaks,” he added.
“Certainly consumers are generally very keen about the provenance of food and drink, and as a rural area that’s really one of the key values.
“There’s been a lot of publicity not only by the food suppliers themselves but also through organisations like ourselves promoting the fact that Suffolk is a great destination for locally produced food and drink.”
The survey will form part of the case for Environment Agency funding for flood defences to protect the coast and river valleys.
Visit www.aldeandore.org to take part in the survey, which is being co-ordinated by Beccles-based consultants before mid-September.