A NEW tourist campaign branding Suffolk “The Curious County” has come under fire from four of the county’s MPs.

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Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley branded it as “Idiotic and meaningless, if not positively dangerous” – fearing it could put potential visitors off coming to the county.

And government minister and Central Suffolk MP Dr Dan Poulter said of the campaign: “It has got to be stopped!”

Suffolk Coastal’s Dr Therese Coffey said: “ ‘Curious county’ does not give a very clear message about Suffolk. It (the word curious) is often used as a euphemism for something that is not quite right!”

She hoped Visit East Anglia would be more clear about the attractions of Suffolk if it is to attract more new visitors to the county next year.

The slogan was unveiled by Visit Suffolk brand manager Amanda Bond during a conference for tourist industry professionals at the end of last month.

It is due to be the centrepiece of a campaign in 2013 and last month she said: “The Curious County is probably the most exciting, eccentric and innovative way we’ve ever decided to promote tourism in Suffolk.”

However she said this week that the campaign was not yet ready to go live and that she could not comment further on it at present.

Mr Ruffley said: “There is great tourism potential in Suffolk. There is the coastal area in the east with wonderful beaches and on this side we have the wonderful historic town here, the Brecks, and Newmarket.

“There is nothing curious about what we have to offer. This slogan is idiotic and meaningless, if not potentially dangerous for the tourism industry.”

Dr Poulter felt the slogan and logo failed to capture the essence of a county that had so much to offer visitors. He said: “It has got to be stopped. It is the sort of marketing slogan that could damage the county for years to come.”

Waveney MP Peter Aldous said he found the slogan curious – if not the county itself.

He said: “At the party conference earlier this week I met people from Hoseasons and they said it was important to establish Suffolk as a brand – there is great tourist potential in the county.

“But I don’t really understand the slogan, I’d say it was rather curious in itself!”

His views were backed up by county councillor responsible for planning Guy McGregor.

He said: “There is nothing curious about the attractions of Suffolk. There is nothing curious about our wonderful coast. There is nothing curious about the success of the Port of Felixstowe or about the horseracing industry at Newmarket.

“What is curious is the way that governments seem to have ignored the needs of the county over the years!”

There was some support for the slogan from Ipswich MP Ben Gummer who said Visit East Anglia was looking at new ways of promoting the county – Visit Suffolk is part of the Norfolk-based body which was set up after the demise of Choose Suffolk in 2011.

Mr Gummer said: “It is an organisation set up by tourist businesses which is looking at new ways of attracting business. The Curious County slogan is only one campaign it is looking at – and could attract new visitors who might otherwise not look at Suffolk.”

Is Suffolk the “Curious County?” Is the campaign presenting the right image of our county? Write to Letters to the Editor, East Anglian Daily Times, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eadtletters@eadt.co.uk

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