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'More work in tourism' - report

PUBLISHED: 07:28 29 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:29 06 July 2010

TOURISM is Suffolk's leading industry and the number of people it employs has risen to 27,000, according to a new study.

The news has been welcomed by tourism leaders, who say the sector is likely to get even bigger over the coming years - especially with opportunities generated by the 2012 Olympics.

TOURISM is Suffolk's leading industry and the number of people it employs has risen to 27,000, according to a new study.

The news has been welcomed by tourism leaders, who say the sector is likely to get even bigger over the coming years - especially with opportunities generated by the 2012 Olympics.

The study was commissioned by Suffolk County Council and shows that tourism is a key economic driver in the county and worth about £1.63billion a year.

It concludes the day-trip business is worth £812m - £2.2m a day - and attracts an annual 23 million visits.

Celia Hodson, chief executive of Choose Suffolk, said: “These are impressive figures that demonstrate the county's reputation as one of the UK's premier tourism destinations.

“We are continuing to work and we are hopeful that our recent campaigns will further raise Suffolk's profile and make it this summer's 'must-visit' destination.

“Suffolk needs to ensure it seizes the employment opportunities and economic generation that tourism can bring.”

The growth looks set to continue - particularly with the opportunities hoped for following London's Olympic Games, which are expected to be worth about £70m to Suffolk.

Adam Baker, the county council's project manager for 2012, said: “We can expect about 70pc of the tourism benefit to come after the Games. London 2012 is a real opportunity. We will be welcoming lots of visitors to the county and we will be able to showcase Suffolk to people from across the world.”

The latest figures were in a report by Bruce Provan, Suffolk County Council portfolio holder for skills and economic development, discussed by the authority at a meeting yesterday.

Within the tourism industry, the study deemed the food and drink sector one of the most important, employing 9,300 people.

Mr Provan said: “Suffolk has much to offer - unspoilt countryside and a breathtaking coastline, iconic buildings, nature reserves, fantastic food and drink. We promote Suffolk's growing reputation for quality food and are helping to create the infrastructure to get local food into London through the creation of a distribution network for the county.”

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