Marketing helps value of Norfolk tourism top £3bn

The value of Norfolk’s tourism industry has surpassed the £3 billion mark for the first time, according to new figures from Visit Norfolk.

Last year, visitors to Norfolk generated £3.06 billion, up from £2.96 billion in 2014.

That compares to £15 billion generated in London, the wealthiest destination, and the £7 billion spent by visitors to Yorkshire.

However, Norfolk surpasses other English holiday hotspots, including Cornwall, where tourism is worth £2.4 billion, and Devon, also £2.4 billion.

Tourists to Cumbria and the Lake District generated £2.6 billion for the economy last year.

Pete Waters, executive director at Visit East Anglia, of which Visit Norfolk is a part, said: “Tourism is already the largest industry sector in Norfolk, but this shows that we can deliver more jobs and more value to the local economy, particularly as we work to develop the year-round visitor economy and convert day trippers to stay visitors.

“Surpassing the £3 billion mark is a real testament to the collaborative way we work, our marketing activity being decided by a panel made up of representatives of all Norfolk district councils and local destination organisations.

“It’s thanks to them and their investment that we’re able to do this work that benefits the whole county.”

Ian Russell, owner of family and shopping attraction Wroxham Barns, added: “It’s the Broads, the coastline, Norwich and its retail history – from countryside to the city, we have it all and it’s a very powerful combination.”

Waters said the challenge now is to overcome the trend of “booking later and shorter” and encourage people to visit for longer.

A campaign on the London Underground celebrating the A11 dualling had been a particular success, he said, though the county is also reaping the benefits of a national trend for more staycations.

• Norwich in Norfolk will be the location for the Association of Group Travel Organisers (AGTO) Silver Anniversary Showcase Weekend (October 28-30).

There will be a welcome session from Visit East Anglia, a marketing seminar, AGTO branch and annual general meetings and an anniversary dinner.

The fam trip programme includes visits to Norwich and the north Norfolk coast.

• Picture shows couple walking on the Norfolk Broads near the Thurne Dyke Wind Pump, Thurne, Norfolk. ©VisitBritain / Rod Edwards