MP Peter Aldous “shouts loud” about Suffolk tourism at Africa Alive
HE is used to dealing with a few prickly customers on the opposition benches.
But Waveney MP Peter Aldous was wisely keeping his distance as he met one of his constituency's fiercer residents.
The MP was visiting Africa Alive adventure park in Kessingland along with representatives from Waveney District Council as they sought to highlight the vital part that tourism plays in the local economy.
Their visit last Friday coincided with a series of events across the country to mark the end of English Tourism Week – and during their tour, Mr Aldous and Bruce Provan, Waveney's portfolio holder for tourism, had a chance to ride the park's road-train and meet some of its residents, including its ring-tailed lemurs and its pride of lions.
At present, tourism is worth an estimated �255m to Waveney's economy and employs more than 5,000 people, while nationwide it is worth an estimated �97bn to England. Mr Aldous said: 'Tourism is a very important part of our economy along with energy and food production. We need to look to promote the main tourism attractions.
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'We do have some good tourism attractions in the area, whether it is Africa Alive or Pleasurewood Hills, and we also have places like Ness Point – the most easterly point in Britain – which has yet to have its full potential realised.
'In the past we just haven't shouted loud enough about what we have to offer. People can have an enjoyable and educational break in Lowestoft and Suffolk without the hassle of airports - it is all here on our doorstep.'
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Bruce Provan added: 'We are pleased to be involved in English Tourism Week. We have got a lot of big attractions here and we were lucky enough to be invited down to Africa Alive to help launch English Tourism Week, which is looking to highlight the attractions we have and highlight the advantages of the tourism trade.'
In October, a report revealed that Waveney's tourism industry was continuing to grow, attracting an estimated 3,950,000 visitors each year, which is worth about �255,389,000 to the local economy.
The figures also showed that tourism supported 4,183 FTE (full-time equivalent) jobs and 5,774 actual jobs. That accounts for about 12.9pc of all jobs in Waveney, making the industry one of our biggest employers.