Tourism now worth £1billion to Suffolk
TOURISM'S value to Suffolk has smashed through the £1billion-a-year mark for the first time, it has been revealed.Delighted business leaders last night said the landmark figure highlights the industry's ever-increasing importance to the local economy.
TOURISM'S value to Suffolk has smashed through the £1billion-a-year mark for the first time, it has been revealed.
Delighted business leaders last night said the landmark figure highlights the industry's ever-increasing importance to the local economy.
And they stressed the need to continue to cash in on the growing market, which now employs a tenth of the county's total workforce.
Scott Dolling, of Suffolk Development Agency, said: “This growth is a good step forward and underlines the importance of tourism in Suffolk. This figure is great news for all citizens in the county.
“There appears to be improving prosperity coming from the tourism economy. That spreads much wider than hotels and attractions - it helps to keep local services, pubs, restaurants and the arts buoyant.”
The £1billion figure relates to money spent by tourists in the county that directly supports jobs and services.
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Rural areas of the county have been a particular focus of the ongoing promotion campaign, with resources invested in attracting visitors from London.
Robert Gough, who runs the Angel Hotel, in Bury St Edmunds, and the Salthouse Harbour Hotel, in Ipswich, is among those to have benefited from the influx of visitors.
Mr Gough, who is also the chair of the Suffolk Tourism Partnership, said: “Tourism is a significant business sector in Suffolk and employs around 29,000 people.
“It has been identified as a growth area for the county and, if managed sensitively, can provide a strong future for generations to come.”
The figures, the most recent available, were released yesterday by the Suffolk Development Agency (SDA). They show the value of tourism increased by 7% between 2003 and 2004, from £948million to £1.013billion.
John Dugmore, chief executive of the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, described the news as “excellent”.
He said: “It certainly shows the county is on the up commercially and that there is plenty to see and do.
“Tourism has a wonderful knock on affect on other businesses in the region and it's a market that should be embraced.”
The SDA is running a “Choose Suffolk” campaign aimed at reaching London commuters and the short-break market. People living within a two-and-a-half hour journey of Suffolk are the focus of the push.
Requests for the brochure highlighting the county's attractions increased from 15,000 to more than 20,000 last year.
A new advertising campaign on the London Tube network is due to begin next week to market the county as a retreat from the “busy city”.