A Norfolk holiday firm has warned that East Anglia’s tourism industry is at risk of falling behind the rest of the country unless it can secure equal funding.

Tourism is big business in East Anglia, generating £5.5bn a year across the two counties. 

But those in the sector warn our region is unable to compete with destinations elsewhere in the UK due to blind spots in the way the public funding is allocated. 

It's after the government changed the structure of destination management organisations (DMOs) - which include Visit North Norfolk and The Suffolk Coast - replacing many existing bodies with a new type of organisation, called Local Visitor Economy Partnerships (LVEPs).

READ MORE: Our manifesto for business in East Anglia

Fifteen have been set up across the UK, with millions of pounds of public money ring-fenced to support their activities.

So far more than £4m has been promised to areas under the LVEP model, including the Cotswolds and Cornwall.

In East Anglia, however, there has been resistance to adopting the new structure, with business leaders arguing it will take power away from local organisations in favour of national priorities. 

But according to Penny Jones, who owns Crabpot Cottages in North Norfolk, the stand off between those in charge is hurting the local economy. 

She said: “We will get left behind if we do not get access to the LVEP funds. We are in a hugely competitive market now for a slice of the tourism pie. 

“The most challenging part of running a holiday company is competing with more established holiday destinations like Cornwall. 

“East Anglia, although not new to holidays and tourism, is still a relatively unknown area. 

“We are so close to our demographic market, which is the South East and Midlands, more exposure in those areas would help people understand what we have to offer, and enable us to employ more people locally.”

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