Attractions in line for tourism gong

FIVE top Ipswich attractions could soon be celebrating a bumper tourism season with a win in the region's top tourism awards.

FIVE top Ipswich attractions could soon be celebrating a bumper tourism season with a win in the region's top tourism awards.

The town's historic Christchurch Mansion, St Stephen's Lane Tourism Information Centre, international arts festival Ip-Art, upmarket hotel Milsoms Kesgrave Hall and Ipswich-based theatre company Red Rose Chain (Theatre in the Forest) are all finalists in the 2009 Tourism in Suffolk Awards.

They are among more than 40 organisations and individuals in 12 categories to make it to the finals and will learn whether they have been successful at a spectacular gala awards event on September 24.

There could even be another potential Ipswich winner among the nominations for the People's Award, a category in which the public vote for their top tourism experience, which will be announced at the awards ceremony.

The Tourism in Suffolk Awards are organised by Archant Suffolk - publishers of the Evening Star - and sponsored by Choose Suffolk, the tourism promotion body for the county.

Now in their fourth year, they aim to showcase the expertise and professionalism in the industry by recognising and rewarding operators who make an outstanding contribution.

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All winners receive a trophy and lasting recognition of their achievement, while some also go on to compete in regional - and potentially national - tourism awards.

Tourism is a vitally important industry for Suffolk. Choose Suffolk estimates its current value to the county's economy at �1.6billion a year, with growth targeted to reach �1.8billion by 2010. The industry sustains 30,000 jobs.

David Faulk, of Discover Suffolk, one of the judges of the Best Large Attraction category, said: “It's been a real pleasure to spend some time visiting these businesses and we will have some difficult choices to make in deciding the overall winner.”

Which Ipswich tourist attraction gets your vote? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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