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Tourism worth £1.6 billion to Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 09:22 05 June 2009 | UPDATED: 09:56 06 July 2010

TOURISM is worth more than £1.6 billion to Suffolk's economy a year - with day trippers ploughing almost £2m a day into the county, it can be revealed today.

TOURISM is worth more than £1.6 billion to Suffolk's economy a year - with day trippers ploughing almost £2m a day into the county, it can be revealed today.

Tourism chiefs said the industry was a “major asset” to Suffolk and told how events such as the Latitude Festival and the Aldeburgh Festival reflected the diversity on offer.

And with more Briton's expected to holiday at home, the tourism industry in the county is bracing itself for a successful summer.

Alex Paul, tourism manager at Choose Suffolk, said: “The figures speak for themselves. There are 30,000 people employed or indirectly employed in Suffolk because of tourism. It makes a huge contribution to the local economy and the number of businesses involved in tourism is huge and that reflects on employment.”

The latest figures show a massive increase in money generated by tourism in the county. In 2006 the value was £1 billion compared to the new figure of £1.6 billion.

The day trip market is hugely important, generating £759m to the local economy a year - or £2m a day. Overnight visitors bring in £323m to Suffolk's economy.

This week organisers of the Latitude Festival, which will be held next month at the Henham Estate said hundreds of thousands of pounds would be pumped into the local economy by the festival.

Mr Paul said the increasingly popular music and arts festival is a great example of how the county's image is changing.

“It is breaking down barriers,” he said. “Suffolk is a fantastic place for young and dynamic people but it may not have that profile nationally and if anyone thinks it is a sleepy backwater then they would be wrong. Latitude is a good way of demonstrating that.”

And because of the recession, as well as Suffolk's appeal, it looks to be a promising summer.

Mr Paul said: “So far the signs are very positive and forward bookings for the summer are very positive. We had a very busy Easter and Bank Holiday and with the economic climate making people think hard about how they spend their money, I think Suffolk will prove to be an excellent value destination with a range of opportunities for tourists so we are very positive.”

Last year Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his family spent a week holidaying near Southwold and visited many attractions in the region.

Stephen Bournes, owner of Southwold Pier, explained why Suffolk was such a great destination for tourists. “It has got the culture and quality with great food, great countryside and the coastline. It is unspoilt. It is the place where people want to go because you are not threatened. People are relaxed and do not get hassled and that is what we are all looking for.”

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