Suffolk’s tourism trade tops £2bn mark

Tourism in Suffolk has seen its biggest boom for a decade, with the visitor economy worth £2 billion for the first time.

Interim figures released by Visit Suffolk show that tourism grew by at least 5% in 2017, more than double growth rate of 2016.

Overnight visits and lengths of stay for tourists rose by more than 4%, with the number of jobs in the county’s tourism sector rising by 6% to more than 42,000.

It means 13.6% of all employment in Suffolk is in the tourism sector.

Councillor Matthew Hicks, Suffolk County Council’s leader, told the East Anglian Daily Times: “This is great news for tourism in Suffolk and is proof a collaborative approach across the county brings substantial dividends.

“We are now seeing a real boom for tourism for Suffolk as increasingly more people discover our beautiful county through the promotional work of Visit Suffolk.

“Clearly, we now have a winning formula here that works for everybody.”

Amanda Bond, Visit Suffolk’s brand manager, added: “These are fantastic figures for Suffolk, signalling five years of significant improvement and promotion by marketing the county with an over-arching brand that benefits all destinations within Suffolk.

“This would not have been achieved without the continued backing for the county-wide offer from all the district authorities, Suffolk County Council, New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and the local destination marketing organisations.”

Last month, Visit Suffolk’s quarterly tourism confidence monitor showed that 72% of businesses are positive about the immediate future and 81% are either ‘very satisfied’ or ‘quite satisfied’ with performance so far this year.

Pete Waters, Visit East Anglia’s executive director, said tourism is not a statutory obligation for the public sector so he is grateful for the financial support from local authorities and the New Anglia LEP.

He added: “However, they are under financial pressure and we need the private sector to work more closely with Visit Suffolk to ensure its long-term future and the continuation of the excellent marketing activity that has contributed to these new figures.”

Pictured: Beach huts in Southwold, Suffolk. VisitEngland/Diana Jarvis. Suffolk picture on home page by Shutterstock.