‘Suffolk Unlocked’ event to bring tourism experts to the county

The Suffolk Unlocked team at Trinity Park, from left, Sarah Jay (Trinity Park), Ben Buck (UCS), Emi

The Suffolk Unlocked team at Trinity Park, from left, Sarah Jay (Trinity Park), Ben Buck (UCS), Emily Roe (UCS), Amanda Bond (Visit Suffolk), Jessica Benneworth (UCS), Gemma Gooch (UCS) and Kirsty Downes (UCS). - Credit: Archant

With tourism worth an estimated £1.8billion to Suffolk every year and employing nearly 40,000 people, it is a critical sector to local economic development.

The Suffolk Unlocked event later this month will be bringing industry experts to the county to share ideas and insights into Suffolk’s tourism industry and the vital role it plays in our economy.

Taking place on Friday, March 20 at Trinity Park, Ipswich, the conference involves a partnership between Visit Suffolk and University Campus Suffolk (UCS) and will bring together a full day’s programme of speakers and workshops as part of English Tourism Week (which runs from March 14 to 22).

James Berresford, chief executive of Visit England, will be setting the overall context of tourism in England and how Suffolk plays a vital role in their tourism strategy.

“Whilst a number of industries suffered during the economic downturn in 2008, tourism remained an engine of growth for the UK economy – with holiday spend at home by Brits boosted by 24% between 2008 and 2013,” he says.

“However, we operate in a very competitive world and we can’t afford to be complacent. We need to work together, to forge partnerships, to seize the industry’s potential for growth. Importantly, we need to strive towards providing innovative, high quality product and experiences for domestic and international visitors that compete with the best the world has to offer.”

Amanda Bond, brand manager for Visit Suffolk, will be explaining the tourism context for Suffolk.

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“The combination of insight and interaction that a full day offers is a really exceptional opportunity to look more closely at how businesses across the county can work together and continue to grow visitors to the area, with clear benefits for the local economy,” she said.

Visit Suffolk is a publicly-funded body set up to connect with consumers from elsewhere in the country and draw visitor numbers and spending to Suffolk.

“In leveraging industry specialists like James Berresford, chief executive of VisitEngland, and Kurt Janson, from the Tourism Alliance, we’re bringing national experts to an event dedicated to our county,” Ms Bond added.

The packed agenda also includes a number of workshops led by professionals from the field of tourism including Pam Foden from VisitEngland who will be leading a session around online customer reviews versus quality assessment schemes, and helping business owners understand how to make the most of both and help their businesses to thrive. Alongside, there will be further workshops on ways to save money, from accessing support to grow your business through the New Anglia Growth Hub, “How to outsmart Online Travel Agents” and getting a host of top PR insider tips to take away at the end of the day.

The event, on Friday, March 20, runs from 9am to 3pm. Tickets priced £35 plus VAT are available at www.ucs.ac.uk/suffolkunlocked.

The ticket price includes a full day of presentations and workshops, with a lunchtime networking session exploring the Market Place, where numerous local businesses will be showcasing their offering. For information on how to secure a space in the Market Place, please contact suffolkunlocked@ucs.ac.uk.

Sponsorship opportunities are available and offer a valuable opportunity for local businesses to highlight their offering, show their support and raise their profile. If any local businesses would like to support the conference please email suffolkunlocked@ucs.ac.uk

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