Fresh drive to improve trade between East Anglia and South West with air links
- Credit: Theo Moye
The potential to improve trade between East Anglia and the South West of England is being explored by business leaders following an event held in partnership by two regional transport hubs.
The two regions have been brought closer together since the launch of direct flights between the cities, which has seen passenger numbers increase by 15% year on year.
The event, held by Norwich Airport and Exeter Airport, was focussed on the opportunities available to the area's food and drink industry.
Doug Field, chairman of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), was the guest of honour at the event hosted by the Earl and Countess of Devon.
He said: 'This visit to the South West has been really inspiring because there are so many areas where we can collaborate. Our regions face similar challenges, but also share great strengths. It's all about connecting regions and working together for mutual economic benefit.'
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Business leaders from both regions are becoming increasingly well acquainted, after 24 delegates from the South West travelled to Norwich last year to open discussions.
Following the most recent event, a return trade mission from Norwich to the South West is planned for March 2019, in partnership with the LEP.
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Richard Pace, managing director of Norwich Airport, said: 'East Anglia and the South West have much in common, including a strong food and drink sector, and there are huge opportunities for collaboration. Airports provide the regional connectivity we need to catalyse those opportunities into significant economic benefit, and we look forward to joining next year's trade mission to the South West.'
Tim Jones, chairman of the South West Business Council, added: 'We were delighted to host Doug and showcase some of the South West's top food and drink producers. We also explored other sector opportunities ranging from agri-tech and bio-sciences to nuclear engineering, all of which will form part of East Anglia's trade mission to the South West next year.'
Norwich Airport and Exeter Airport are part of Regional and City Airports, the airport management division of Rigby Group. The airports' Connects initiative works with regional business ambassadors to enhance air connectivity to drive economic growth.