Report shows East Anglia on rise as tourism hotspot

The River Bure at Acle Bridge buzzing with hire craft and holiday makers on the river during a warm

The River Bure at Acle Bridge buzzing with hire craft and holiday makers on the river during a warm day.; June 2010; Norfolk Broads / River Bure / Acle / Boats / Hire Craft / Tourists / Weather / Broads Authority / Boating / Tourism / Holiday Here; Picture: James Bass; Copy: Filer; Eastern Daily Press © 2010 (01603) 772434 - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2010

Visitors to the wide skies, sandy beaches, culture and fresh air of East Anglia are playing an increasing role in the region's economy.

A new report by the government's statisticians into the economic impact of tourism hotspots across the country has proved what tourism bosses have observed – that the proportion of East Anglia's output from tourism has increased.

The Office for National Statistics calculation, known as the tourism ratio, increased to 3.8pc in 2013, from 3.52pc in the previous official study in 2011.

Pete Waters, executive director of Visit East Anglia, said tourism was the largest industry sector in East Anglia and its growth demonstrated its importance to the regional economy.

'The key to continued growth is to convert some of our 70 million day- trippers to stay-visitors and to market ourselves as a year-round destination as we already have the natural and built capital, value-for-money accommodation, food and drink and cultural offering to sustain a 12-month window for holidays, weekends and short breaks.'

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People in the tourism industry say the picture has improved further for them since the Office for National Statistics 2013 snapshot.

Ben McCauley, a 30-year-old waiter at the Marriott's Warehouse Café and Restaurant in King's Lynn, said they were really busy and had seen their numbers improve.

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'In King's Lynn there has been a lot of regeneration. The quayside has been made more beautiful. We have got the Festival Too and the Hanseatic Ski Race which both bring in a lot of tourists. The Hanse festival brings in a lot of people, mainly from the surrounding areas.'

William Esse, from Church Farm, near Downham Market, said they had definitely been busier since 2013, although he was not sure if it was because of tourism or because people had a bit more money in their pockets.

Christopher Scargill, tourism and leisure partner at Larking Gowen chartered accountants, said their latest survey had found that in 2014 and 2015 the majority of tourism businesses had seen their turnover grow.

'Forecasts for 2016 also show expected turnover growth for 66pc of businesses, and despite some mixed weather of late, including the effects of Storm Katie over Easter, there are currently no signs that these forecasts will not be achieved.'

Chris Starkie, managing director of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: 'With more visitors coming from abroad, providing valuable inward investment and proving that our region's unique natural landscapes and world-class cultural offer is being recognised on a global scale.'

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