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Conference outlines Olympic potential for Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 15:35 03 March 2010 | UPDATED: 16:34 06 July 2010

DESTINATION Suffolk - the annual Choose Suffolk Tourism Conference, is today bringing together the key partners and providers of tourism services in Suffolk.

DESTINATION Suffolk - the annual Choose Suffolk Tourism Conference, is today bringing together the key partners and providers of tourism services in Suffolk.

Held at Trinity Park the event is focusing on the 2012 Olympic Games and the opportunities that they offer tourism and business partners in Suffolk. The Olympic games are forecast to generate tourism gains of around £2.1bn from 2008 to 2017 for the UK as a whole.

Andy Wood, Chairman of Choose Suffolk and Managing Director of Adnams opened the proceedings and the delegates heard from Simon Clegg, CEO of Ipswich Town Football Club and previous CEO of British Olympic Association. Paul Simpson, CEO of Visit Manchester, demonstrated how a major sporting event, such as the Commonwealth Games in 2002, provides real opportunities for the local and regional tourism industry. Sandie Dawe, Chief Executive of VisitBritain, shared how the national tourist board for Britain will use the Games to bring more overseas visitors to Britain during the event and beyond.

Delegates also heard from Steve Cram the ex-GB Athlete, Olympic Legend and regular sports commentator. Cram was the conference's key-note speaker and he discussed his anticipation for the London Games.

“Tourism is one of Suffolk's most important economic drivers,” Andy Wood said.

“Suffolk provides a quality product rich in culture and heritage, a feast for all the senses, but has a very competitive environment. “With the Olympic Games the county needs to be ready to secure the financial benefits that are generated by the Games,” he added.

Hot footed from the Olympic Games, the conference welcomed a legend with six Olympic medals - Steve Cram.

“Vancouver came alive with the spirit of the Olympics, the power of the games brought the country alive and I hope that in Great Britain we can create the same energy, spirit, that we can make the same happen here,” Cram said.

“Vancouver was big, 2012 will be even bigger. As an athlete and a BBC presenter every games I have attended I have also visited somewhere else whilst there. It is what we do, report on the games and then spend time and money in the area.

“These plans are made more than a year ahead of the events. People are making plans now about where they are going - don't waste time have your plans in place now,” he admitted.

“Be prepared to compete for visitors, Northumberland is busy trying to persuade visitors that they are close to London. In Suffolk you truly are and you need to take this fact and use it well.”

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