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Successes of tourism industry celebrated

PUBLISHED: 10:30 28 November 2008 | UPDATED: 21:54 05 July 2010

THE successes of the tourism industry in the Waveney area were celebrated this week in a conference held at Lowestoft's Orbis Energy Centre.

The conference, organised by the Waveney Tourism Forum, also included the 2008 Sunrise Coast Tourism Awards sponsored by The Journal and its sister title the Beccles and Bungay Journal.

THE successes of the tourism industry in the Waveney area were celebrated this week in a conference held at Lowestoft's Orbis Energy Centre.

The conference, organised by the Waveney Tourism Forum, also included the 2008 Sunrise Coast Tourism Awards sponsored by The Journal and its sister title the Beccles and Bungay Journal.

Scores of business owners flocked to the event on Wednesday to hear how tourism is worth more than £235m a year to the district's economy and supports more than 5,000 jobs.

Delegates were told how the credit crunch is impacting on consumer confidence and that offering value for money to tourists is vitally important to keep the market vibrant.

A leading figure in the British tourism sector said he was also confident about the industry's future and pointed to the London Olympics in 2012 as a great opportunity to boost tourism around the country.

Forum chairman, the Hon Hugh Crossley, said: “Tourism continues to play a vital part in our economy. It is very important, moving into the difficult economic times ahead, that everybody understands the role of the forum.”

Guest speaker Peter Hampson, director of the British Resorts and Destinations Association (BRADA), started by reflecting on the past year and said he thought it was “remarkably good” despite the poor weather.

Mr Hampson admitted the gloomy economic outlook was having an impact on the confidence of consumers, but stressed there was still much to be hopeful about.

“For many now, a holiday is seen as a necessity and not a luxury. Cutbacks would appear to be being found in things like eating out,” he added. “People are prepared to pay if they feel they are getting value for money.”

Mr Hampson told the audience that continuing to market attractions was vitally important during the economic downturn and said business leaders should make efforts to cash in on the feeling that domestic holiday are good for the environment.

He spoke hopefully about the impact of the 2012 Olympics, but stressed that the government must embrace the need to promote the wider tourism industry.

Delegates also heard about joint efforts to publicise East Anglia as a tourist destination.

Russell Cook, editor of The Journal, jointly presented the awards with Waveney councillor Wendy Mawer, and said tourism played a vital role in the region's economy.

“The Journal recognises the achievements made by you all in developing the area as a tourist destination,” he said.

For the results see this week's Journal.

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