Stay at home holidaymakers boost economy

INCREASING numbers of stay at home holidaymakers are providing a welcome boost to the region's economy, tourism bosses have revealed.

Josh Warwick

INCREASING numbers of stay at home holidaymakers are providing a welcome boost to the region's economy, tourism bosses have revealed.

The effect of the recession combined with a weakened pound has seen travellers shunning foreign breaks in favour of the more traditional British vacation.

And, according to a new study, it seems East Anglia is already benefitting from the change.

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The East Anglia Coastal Campaign, organised by East of England Tourism, has seen brochure requests increase by 18% compared with the same period last year.

The total amount spent by visitors to the region is also on the rise, with figures published by VisitBritain revealing that during the first three months of 2009 the average expenditure per trip to the East of England rose by 0.84%. This is despite an average drop in expenditure in the UK of 14.48%.

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Meanwhile, nearly two thirds of businesses in the region say they have experienced similar or increased visitor numbers for the first six month of 2009 against the same period in 2008.

Suffolk County Council leader Jeremy Pembroke welcomed the news and said tourism was a “significant driver” to the county's economy.

“We are, as an authority, working very closely with the borough council and district councils to push the attractiveness of Suffolk forward to ensure people come and spend time here,” he said.

“We have a wonderful coastline and excellent bed and breakfasts and hotels run by enterprising people. There is so much to see and it's easy to get to.”

Mr Pembroke said efforts were being made to establish the county as a tourism hot spot by the time the London 2012 Olympics arrive. This, he said, would encourage visitors to the games to stay in Suffolk during their time in the UK.

Tourism is currently worth around �5.3 billion per year to the East of England's economy and employs 185,000 people.

Celia Hodson, chief executive of Choose Suffolk, described East of England Tourism's findings as “fantastic news”.

“It demonstrates that, even in these challenging economic times, the county has an enduring appeal that makes it a highly attractive destination for visitors,” she said.

East of England Tourism's Keith Brown added: “We are very pleased to see these positive results.

“The 'staycation' traveller is looking for new and quality experiences and our region is ideally placed to capitalise on the changing leisure market.”

AN innovative mobile phone-based tourist information guide has been launched in Southwold.

Sponsored by the town's brewer Adnams, Pocket Southwold is designed to provide users with everything they need to know about Southwold in a colourful, fun and interactive format.

Pocket Southwold is free to use from a mobile phone or iPod touch and features a range of information on the town's rich history, beautiful beaches, hotels and eateries, and the best things to see and do in and around the area. The system also includes fascinating facts, interactive maps and photographs.

Pocket Southwold has been developed by Norfolk entrepreneur and inventor Mark Oakden.

He said: “I realised that tourist information about interesting towns and cities just wasn't available from one, reliable source.

“Traditional guidebooks can be rather dull, expensive and cumbersome to carry around. This pocket guide is completely different because it provides tourists with something more fun, more colourful and easier to use that's packed with information they would never get from a guidebook.”

Mr Oakden has already launched pocket guides in London, Cambridge, Norwich and Barcelona.

Find Pocket Southwold at

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