Suffolk: County to lead the way on new bid to attract visitors to the major heritage sites and cultural festivals in Suffolk and Norfolk
- Credit: citizenside.com
A new bid to attract tourists keen on culture and heritage to the region is being spearheaded by Suffolk County Council.
Grants totalling £250,000 will be used to attract more visitors to Suffolk and Norfolk for major arts and heritage sites and cultural festivals.
The grant has come from the Arts Council (£150,000) and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (£100,000) and will be administered by the Suffolk on behalf of itself and the Norfolk tourist industry.
Visit East Anglia is part of the consortium that will be marketing the region’s cultural and heritage offering.
Suffolk cabinet member Becky Hopfensperger said: “Suffolk is a great place to live, visit and invest in. This grant will enable us to attract more visitors to the county, which will be a real boost to the local economy.”
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Tourism is currently worth £4.6bn annually to the two counties. The investment will be used to support their ambition to grow tourism by 5% a year.
LEP chairman Mark Pendlington said: “From summer festivals to opera on the beach, boutique hotels and unique natural assets such as Dedham Vale and The Broads, Suffolk and Norfolk have a wealth of attractions to suit any age or interest.
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“This grant will help us share these cultural treasures to even more visitors from the UK and across the world while also boosting business growth and employment in these vital sectors.”
The new project will encourage visitors to enjoy arts events like the Aldeburgh Festival and other events centred at Snape Maltings throughout the year.
It will also promote the Bury Festival, Ip-Art in Ipswich, and the Norfolk and Norwich Festival – as well as productions at Dance East on Ipswich Waterfront, Bury’s historic Theatre Royal, and the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich.
The National Trust is also a key player – with a wealth of properties across the region including Ickworth near Bury, Flatford Mill and Willy Lott’s Cottage, Melford Hall, and Lavenham’s historic Guildhall.
Helen Wilson, chairman of the LEP Cultural Board, said: “We are delighted that the Arts Council has recognised our ambition to make Suffolk and Norfolk must-see cultural destinations’.
“We want to boost the economy by making sure that we attract visitors to experience our nationally significant cultural offer.”
Research by Visit England and Office of National Statistics estimated that 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.
In 2011 there were 3,399,000 staying visitors in Norfolk, staying a total of 14,470,000 nights. The total number of day visitors was 31,228,000.
The research estimates that 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.
In Norfolk 26,595 full time jobs, and 54,304 jobs in total, are directly supported by tourism – 15.3% of employment.
The total business turnover supported by tourism is £2,786,197,000.