Why it's right to Choose Suffolk

By Sheline ClarkeA PIONEERING £400,000 initiative has been launched to brand Suffolk as a business centre and tourist destination.Choose Suffolk is the first campaign of its kind to promote both sectors in tandem within a county and is the brainchild of the Suffolk Development Agency.

By Sheline Clarke

A PIONEERING £400,000 initiative has been launched to brand Suffolk as a business centre and tourist destination.

Choose Suffolk is the first campaign of its kind to promote both sectors in tandem within a county and is the brainchild of the Suffolk Development Agency.

It aims to raise the county's profile on a national and international level as a great place to do business and as a destination for high-quality short breaks.


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Launching the campaign yesterday at Salthouse Harbour Hotel on the Ipswich Waterfront, Suffolk Development Agency chairman Tony Preston called it an historic moment for Suffolk.

He added it would promote the county's marketing activity “from the first division into the premier league”.

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“What the county has lacked in the past is a co-ordinated approach to marketing and promoting the area,” said Mr Preston.

“Suffolk is already an established leader in certain industry sectors, with the Port of Felixstowe the UK's leading container port, BT's Adastral Park, widely regarded as one of the most important technology parks in the UK and even Europe, and Newmarket, the undisputed home of horseracing.

“This campaign will take greater ownership of some Suffolk's best-known icons and build on those strengths.”

Guest speaker Godfrey Spanner, managing director of Onslow Suffolk Ltd, the company behind the £320million SnOasis project planned for Great Blakenham, spoke of the economic boost it would provide.

He added Suffolk was an ideal choice for the venture and predicted SnOasis would pump an estimated £200m into the local economy every year and create 3,000 jobs.

“We have taken a hole in the ground - one of the grottiest sites in Suffolk - and it is our bid to improve it,” said Mr Spanner.

“To that end we formulated plans that have evolved and changed considerably and now we have submitted a planning application that will be heard in September. We could have the machines on site by October and be heading for opening in 2007.

“I am a great fan of the Suffolk Development Agency, which has to be one of the most positive organisations I have ever come across and working with them gave us a great start here in Suffolk.”

Yesterday's launch was the culmination of nine month's work by the Suffolk Development Agency to establish a set of brand values that will support future campaigns.

While inward investment and tourism will be promoted to specific audiences, it is believed the creation of one brand and one creative will give the county a stronger identity.

Julian Munson, the Suffolk Development Agency's inward investment manager, said: “We have an extraordinary diverse economy and some successful companies operating across all sectors.

“Encouraging them to promote the Suffolk message will become and important part of the strategy.”

Suffolk Development Agency destination marketing manager, Scott Dolling, added iconic locations such as Southwold and Snape held “enormous opportunities” and said the campaign would promote the wider benefits of the “Suffolk experience”.

Mr Dolling added: “We know that in Suffolk we have a 'product' that has a wide range of opportunities that are yet to be realised and we believe through this campaign we can develop them for the benefit of Suffolk citizens and businesses.

“It is an overlooked fact that without tourists many community services may not be credible.”

A new website, www.choosesuffolk.com, also went live to coincide with the launch of the initiative, which has the backing of the East of England Development Agency.

sheline.clark@eadt.co.uk

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