Tourism industry booming in Waveney, according to new report

TOURISM is 'thriving' in Waveney, according to figures published this week.

Boosted by more people taking holidays in the UK, the district's tourism industry is 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 show that tourism supports 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 largest employers.

Tourism chiefs were buoyed last week when temperatures soared to an October record, attracting thousands of people to the east coast and rounding off a successful season.

As well as the sun-seekers, large crowds gathered to watch the high- speed Thundercat powerboat racing from Lowestoft beach and the promenade on Saturday and Sunday, and Waveney District Council officials confirmed this week that they were in talks with race organisers to bring the event back to Lowestoft in 2012.

It ended off a busy season of events in Waveney, which included the Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival, Latitude, fun on the Green, armed forces day, the East Anglian Dragon Boat Festival and open air theatre at Sparrows Nest.

The holiday trade was also helped by Lowestoft and Southwold beaches receiving Blue Flag awards, and beaches at Southwold, Denes and Kessingland earning Keep Britain Tidy quality coast awards.

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'These accolades are significant as the Sunrise Coast Visitor Survey 2010 identified that 69pc of visitors intended to visit Waveney's beaches during their stay, highlighting just how important they are,' a council spokesman said.

Waveney district councillor Bruce Provan, portfolio holder for tourism, leisure and economic regeneration, added: 'Tourism plays a vital role in our local economy.

'The council remains committed to developing this and to maintaining the beaches to a very high standard by working in partnership with Waveney Norse, Sentinel Leisure Trust, and local tourism providers through the Waveney Tourism Forum.

'It has been wonderful to see visitors taking pleasure in all that Waveney has to offer while we all enjoy the last of the summer sun, and I have every faith that our tourism industry will continue to thrive next season.'

During the summer season a number of new tourism businesses have opened in the district.

North Denes caravan park's first phase is nearly complete and it has already received its first touring caravans, mobile homes and tents.

The Hotel Hatfield Lowestoft has also seen huge investment.

The hotel's proprietor, Elly Montgomery, said: 'Lowestoft has a thriving business community and this, coupled with it being a seaside town, has had a positive impact on our bookings. We have lots of development plans in place focusing around the hotel and Lowestoft as a community.'

Waveney District Council is continuing to promote an autumn breaks campaign for the remainder of 2011, and it is working with Suffolk Coastal District Council to create a joint Suffolk Coast holiday guide for next year.

Events coming up in the next few months in Waveney include Henstead Exotic Gardens opening to the public and kite flying on Southwold boating lake as part of the Woodwose Festival.

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