Curious Suffolk tourism campaign leads to MP demanding action
The controversy over a new marketing campaign which brands Suffolk as the “Curious County” looks set to reach the House of Commons.
While tourism businesses have defended the initiative aimed at attracting new visitors to the county, Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley has described the slogan as “idiotic and meaningless”.
He has now called for the boss of Visit East Anglia – the organisation behind the campaign – to explain the concept to local MPs.
Mr Ruffley, who has received complaints about the slogan from constituents, said it failed to reflect the unspoilt natural beauty of the East Anglian coastline, Suffolk’s picturesque villages and their history. In his opinion, the campaign brands Suffolk as “strange” rather than beautiful.
But Visit Suffolk brand manager, Amanda Bond, stuck by the campaign, describing it as “totally new and innovative”.
She said: “We’ve always been proud of the assets which have made this county unique, and we want holidaymakers to visit our curious assets for themselves.
“The Under the Pier Show, House in the Clouds, the mystery of Shingle Street, the charm of Lavenham and its history – these are all things we’re extremely proud of and we love them because they’re not the norm.”
She added: “The crux of the concept is simple and unlike anything that’s been done before, which is why there’s naturally trepidation.
“(But we feel that) the curious nature of the campaign will inspire and provoke a response, hopefully leading to a visit.”
Tim Rowan-Robinson of the TA Hotel Collection said the slogan was intended to “inspire and intrigue”, adding: “We appreciate it’s a bold step, but we believe it will attract a lot of interest among people who don’t know Suffolk.
“It has the backing of leading tourism businesses, who are really excited by the opportunity to draw attention to the wide range of wonderful things Suffolk has to offer.”
Liz Cobbold of famous Suffolk brewer Adnams added: “More and more customers are using digital media to book and research their holidays and this campaign is all about engaging with these customers and telling the less well- known stories about Suffolk to a new and curious audience.”
Over the weekend Twitter hashtag #proudtobecurious was started in support of the campaign, which is estimated to have reached 33,458 Twitter accounts and generated 59,289 impressions, according to Visit Suffolk.
Ms Bond said the Curious County campaign was not intended to replace its current marketing website www.visitsuffolk.com, which, she said, would maintain a more “traditional” portrayal of the county.