Culture secretary quizzed on tourism and broadband during visit to Great Yarmouth and Beccles
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015
Tourism and better broadband were on the agenda for culture secretary Sajid Javid when he met with businesses and residents in Norfolk and Suffolk.
The Bromsgrove MP, secretary of state for culture, media and sport, visited both counties during a whistlestop tour yesterday.
He started in Great Yarmouth where he met with tourism bosses for a roundtable discussion about the industry, and talked about the government's desire to tempt more visitors out of London and into other parts of the UK.
Among the businesses that attended the meeting, organised by Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis, was bosses from the Pleasure Beach, Merrivale Model Village, the Hippodrome, Sea Life Centre and Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens.
Speaking after the meeting Mr Javid said boosting UK tourism was a big focus for the coalition government as it is one of the 'most important' parts of the country's economy.
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'Everyone's pleased that tourism is on the up throughout the UK, including here in Great Yarmouth. In terms of future focus the thing that has come up, I think more than most, is when tourists come to Britain how can we do more to get them outside of London,' he added.
'The government has already set up initiatives with Visit England to promoting tourism outside of London, such as changing visa policy, but I think there's always more to do.'
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Mr Javid welcomed suggestions for initiatives from local businesses to help boost visitor numbers, which he could then discuss with Mr Lewis.
After leaving Yarmouth he was taken south to Beccles to meet with Waveney MP Peter Aldous, Mark Bee, leader of Suffolk County Council and business leaders to discuss the boost to broadband for the town.
More than 3,500 homes and businesses in Beccles can now access super-fast broadband - largely as a result of the county's continuing Better Broadband campaign.
Around 1,000 additional properties have been given the opportunity to connect as part of a contract between Suffolk County Council and BT.
Many properties had been connected straight to the exchange and not into the fibre broadband cabinets, which have now been upgraded to super-fast broadband and switched on.
Mr Bee said Suffolk was the only county in the country to have entered the second phasing of the campaign in aiming for 95pc of the county using super-fast broadband by 2017, and 100pc by 2020.
Mr Javid said the service was important to both everyday life and the tourist industry.
'The government has been working flat out for five years to make sure we get super-fast broadband across the country. We have such an active local MP who has lobbied at every level to get what we have got here. It makes a big difference in market towns and we are working together to promote these areas.'
Mr Javid said it was important for residents and businesses to check whether they were actually already connected, adding that in some cases an upgrade could make their package cheaper.
Christine Pinsent, chair of the Beccles Business and Tourism Association said they looked forward to improved speeds of around 62mbps, which will help make online transactions and processes much quicker.