Yarmouth’s tourism leaders bowl in 2011 season

Great Yarmouth's tourism business community gathered at the Wellington Pier yesterday for the launch of the resort's 2011 brochure - and the 'world premiere' of its new television advert.

The advert will first be screened on January 17, targeting 12m people in ITV's Central and Yorkshire areas.

Shot at a variety of locations, including Wellington Pier, Rollesby Broad, Elizabethan House museum and Gorleston beach, it will be the first to be screened at this time of year to boost the resort's summer trade for more than a decade.

Borough tourism officer Alan Carr acknowledged that 2010 had been a tough year for the tourism industry, but said its potential was shown by 2009 figures that revealed the holiday industry was worth �500m to the local economy, attracting 10,000 visitors equating to 5m bed nights.

Graham Plant, chairman of Greater Yarmouth Tourism Authority, said: 'Next year will be about consolidating what we have already achieved through the good work of the tourism authority.

'I am confident that our events programme, including the Maritime and Out There festivals, will again draw big crowds.

'With factors like airport tax rises, there is every reason to hope for another staycation summer. People are realising again that there are fabulous places to visit in England and that has been reflected in the last two years in Yarmouth.'

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Mr Plant revealed that they were already planning ahead to the 2012 season by which time the whole of the seafront - from Winterton to Hopton - might have been turned into a business improvement district (Bid).

Mirroring what has happened successfully in the town centre, the introduction of a Bid - an initiative introduced under new Labour - would mean all firms contributing through an extra levy on their business rates to improved tourism facilities.

A majority of businesses would have to agree to the scheme, in a vote likely to take place in the autumn, and the money raised would be spent in accordance with their wishes.

Mr Plant said: 'It will be the businesses that decide. It could be anything from introducing beach sweeping every day to increasing night-time patrols to improve security or spending more on advertising the resort.'

The brochure launch was preceded by a ten-pin bowling competition with the men's individual trophy won by council leader Barry Coleman.

Then, to loud applause around the pier's bowling complex, Mayor Michael Jeal led a countdown to the eagerly-awaited launch of the brochure, images of which immediately appeared on big screens.

Designed by local firm TMS Media, its front cover extols the town's maritime heritage, fun nights out and the beautiful Norfolk Broads.