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Stay at home holidaymakers boost economy

PUBLISHED: 08:25 22 July 2009 | UPDATED: 10:59 06 July 2010

INCREASING numbers of stay at home holidaymakers are providing a welcome boost to the region's economy, tourism bosses have revealed.

The effect of the recession combined with a weakened pound has seen travellers shunning foreign breaks in favour of the more traditional British vacation.

INCREASING numbers of stay at home holidaymakers are providing a welcome boost to the region's economy, tourism bosses have revealed.

The effect of the recession combined with a weakened pound has seen travellers shunning foreign breaks in favour of the more traditional British vacation.

And, according to a new study, it seems East Anglia is already benefitting from the change.

The East Anglia Coastal Campaign, organised by East of England Tourism, has seen brochure requests increase by 18% compared with the same period last year.

The total amount spent by visitors to the region is also on the rise, with figures published by VisitBritain revealing that during the first three months of 2009 the average expenditure per trip to the East of England rose by 0.84%. This is despite an average drop in expenditure in the UK of 14.48%.

Meanwhile, nearly two thirds of businesses in the region say they have experienced similar or increased visitor numbers for the first six month of 2009 against the same period in 2008.

Suffolk County Council leader Jeremy Pembroke welcomed the news and said tourism was a “significant driver” to the county's economy.

“We are, as an authority, working very closely with the borough council and district councils to push the attractiveness of Suffolk forward to ensure people come and spend time here,” he said.

“We have a wonderful coastline and excellent bed and breakfasts and hotels run by enterprising people. There is so much to see and it's easy to get to.”

Mr Pembroke said efforts were being made to establish the county as a tourism hot spot by the time the London 2012 Olympics arrive. This, he said, would encourage visitors to the games to stay in Suffolk during their time in the UK.

Tourism is currently worth around £5.3 billion per year to the East of England's economy and employs 185,000 people.

Celia Hodson, chief executive of Choose Suffolk, described East of England Tourism's findings as “fantastic news”.

“It demonstrates that, even in these challenging economic times, the county has an enduring appeal that makes it a highly attractive destination for visitors,” she said.

East of England Tourism's Keith Brown added: “We are very pleased to see these positive results.

“The 'staycation' traveller is looking for new and quality experiences and our region is ideally placed to capitalise on the changing leisure market.”

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