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Almost a quarter of Norwich jobs come from tourism, study reveals, as the city’s industry tops £700m

Norwich Market.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norwich Market. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

Nearly a quarter of all jobs in Norwich now rely on the city’s multimillion-pound tourism economy, which shot up by £27m last year.

City of Stories

New branding launched by Visit Norwich earlier this year has seen online interest in the Fine City soar.

The second phase of the City of Stories campaign was launched in May, following a digital campaign in 2014, to tap into Norwich’s literary history and offer an insight into life in the city.

Traffic to the City of Stories blog has since rocketed, with a year on year rise of 200pc in September, while Visit Norwich’s consumer database has, in turn, jumped by 88pc on 2015.

As part of the project, five films, covering literature, culture, food and drink, shopping and green spaces, have been published.

For more information, visit www.cityofstories.co.uk

Figures from a Visit Norwich study reveal the industry is now worth £704m – a 4pc rise on 2014.

Since 2007, the number of workers in the field has soared from 6,408 up to 12,340, which now accounts for 23pc of all employment across the city.

The figures show that Norwich’s contribution to the county’s booming £3bn industry is also now higher than ever – at 23pc.

A buoyant Nick Bond, head of tourism at Visit Norwich, said it was “positive news all round” and that various factors had contributed to the growth. He added: “I think the particular attractiveness of Norwich as a relatively short-stay destination is continuing to grow, helped by the fact that there aren’t lots of similar settlements in the immediate vicinity.

for pottergate open craft event - Norwich Lanes. Pottergate. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYfor pottergate open craft event - Norwich Lanes. Pottergate. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“But people in a broad catchment area are choosing to come to Norwich specifically to spend their money.”

The interest in spending leisure time locally has bolstered the industry, which has almost doubled in value from £375m in the last eight years.

“There seems to be a bit of sensitivity around going abroad and Brexit, and what that means as far as overseas travel,” Mr Bond said.

“Also concerns around terrorism in places on the periphery of Europe, such as in north Africa, have had an effect.”

The latest figures show Norwich is a high-performer when compared to similar cathedral cities, including York, where the tourism industry is worth £608m, Winchester, at £358m, and Canterbury, at £450m.

Though Mr Bond said he would be wary of comparing the figures like for like, he said it was a “hugely positive” reflection of Norwich.

“The offer here is tremendously good,” he said. “Take the shopping experience – Norwich has been shortlisted for the Great British High Street Awards again, which is unusual and shows its excellence.

“The shopping here remains inside the city centre and is superior to most other areas.”

While the number of overnight trips rose to 423,800 last year – from 413,300 in 2014 – day trips fell very slightly from 11.1m to 11m, although spending by day-trippers rose.

Looking forward, Mr Bond said promoting life in Norwich was key to attracting visitors.

The second phase of the City of Stories destination branding was launched in May, and has since boosted traffic to the campaign blog by 200pc and upped the Visit Norwich database by 88pc year on year.

• Do you have a tourism story for us? Email correspondent Lauren Cope on lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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