Suffolk: Tourism industry’s optimism for the future - county is “fashionable place to visit”

Tourism Business Survey 2013 results at Ickworth House. Pictured is Amanda Bond from Visit Suffolk.

Tourism Business Survey 2013 results at Ickworth House. Pictured is Amanda Bond from Visit Suffolk. - Credit: Archant

TOURISM in Suffolk is growing and businesses remain optimistic about the industry’s future.

That is according to the results of this year’s Tourism Business Survey, produced by accountancy firm Larking Gowen in association with The East Anglian Daily Times and The Eastern Daily Press,

Presenting the findings to industry representatives at Ickworth House, Horringer, yesterday, Chris Scargill, tourism partner of Larking Gowen said 74% of businesses are feeling positive about the future - and a third expecting a better financial result in 2013.

The bouyant mood, despite a tough 2012 following one of the wettest summers on record, coincides with the announcement that two major tourism events are in rude health.

The Latitude Festival confirmed a line-up of international acts and organisers of the Suffolk Show said their event was undergoing a “renaissance.”

Keith Brown, chief executive of Visit East Anglia, said the county was growing into a fashionable place to visit.

He added: “We are easy to reach for the majority of people in the London area, home counties and east Midlands. But also we have a real electic mix of different types of destuination, whether you’re interested in adrenalin rushes, quiet walks on beaches, riding bikes through forests and eating and drinking finest foods in country.

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“All those things together make for a pretty strong proposition. Special events like Latitude and the Suffolk Show just add to the impression that people are thinking about Suffolk.”

Mr Brown said the cost of staying in the county is good value compared to other detainations.

He added: “When there’s a tough economic climate people look for value. That’s one of the reaosns we’re seeing this growth in optimism, the average spend is growing faster here than any other part of the country. We are growing and we are becoming a fashionable and savvy place to visit.”

Amanda Bond, brand manager for Visit Suffolk, also presented a review of the first month of the 14-week digital Curious County campaign. She said the Facebook account had received 1,071 ‘likes’ and there had been enquiries and interactions from Austrailia, Brazil and the USA.

Ms Bond said: “It’s really encouraging, because at the end of the day, you can’t just multiply first month by three months, it’s going to be exponetial growth. I’m hopeful for a good year.”

She added that the Curious County brand would remain after the current campaign finishes and a social media presence would be maintained.