Air show massive boost to local economy

THOUSANDS of people from Ipswich and Suffolk book off their two days in the summer to take in the spectacular sights and sounds of one of the regions top attractions.

LOWESTOFT: Thousands of people from Ipswich and Suffolk book off their two days in the summer to take in the spectacular sights and sounds of one of the regions top attractions.

Now an independent report had revealed that last year's Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival boosted the local economy by an additional �11.5m and created 180 jobs.

The bumper figure includes money spent on accommodation, transport, in shops, on food and drinks and at other attractions. A further �2m was contributed to the regional economy.

Paul Bayfield, managing director of the festival, said: “It is a serious amount of money and it really does come home to you what responsibility we've got. Once upon a time Lowestoft was really famous for fishing, now I think it is famous for the air festival. It's certainly made more people aware of where Lowestoft is. People come from all over the country.”


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The festival is organised by volunteers and Mr Bayfield said it was “absolutely vital” that visitors donated money while at the free festival and they were looking for sponsors for this year's event.

The report was commissioned by the air show organisers and Waveney District Council, based on research carried out by the East of England Tourist Board and the council.

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The figures were derived from an economic impact model widely used in the tourism industry and the same report in 2006 estimated a local boost of �9.8m.

The 2009 festival attracted crowds of about 420,000 and �120,000 was donated. From this, �28,000 was given to local voluntary groups.

Mr Bayfield said this year's line-up was yet to be confirmed but they were already in talks to bring the Vulcan back to Lowestoft.

Waveney District Council's head of tourism, Asa Morrison, said the festival was a big chunk of Waveney's annual �238m tourism economy and was a “huge injection of trade” for the town.

To sponsor the festival, call Keith Moughton on 01502 523398 or visit www.lowestoftairfestival.co.uk.

The festival takes place on August 12 and 13.

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