Midsummer boom for Ipswich hoteliers

A MIDSMUMMER boomtime for Ipswich hoteliers means late-booking guests will be left on a wing and a prayer this year. In what is building up to be a massive economic boost for the town, thousands of Anglicans are set to converge on Ipswich between June 24 and June 26 for three major events.

A MIDSMUMMER boomtime for Ipswich hoteliers means late-booking guests will be left on a wing and a prayer this year.

In what is building up to be a massive economic boost for the town, thousands of Anglicans are set to converge on Ipswich between June 24 and June 26 for three major events.

Hotels are booking out fast in Ipswich and accommodation in nearby towns is also heavily booked in what looks set to be a bumper summer for the tourist industry.

Ipswich Tourist Information Centre manager David Stainer said: "We're seeing a big influx over that time. It's very good news for the town."

Up to 8,000 Church of England members are expected to gather for a service at Ipswich Town Football Club on Friday, June 24.

The celebration is being billed as the largest Christian gathering in Suffolk in 25 years and will be used to welcome thousands of members of the Mothers' Union to town.

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The following day thousands of members of the union, the largest Christian membership organisation in the world, will attend its general meeting at the Portman Road ground.

Those attending will include 26 provincial presidents representing 3.5million members in 76 countries as well as members who have travelled from overseas and throughout the UK.

Mr Stainer said: "People have been booking for this for a year or more.

"It's an international conference, people are coming from all over the world.

"Some people are making a week-long break of it.

"A lot of them are coming as groups. You might have a whole coach load coming from a particular place of a diocese.

"Ipswich is filling up and people are staying out in the sticks in Woodbridge, Aldeburgh, and in the heart of Suffolk in places like Bury St Edmunds."

On Sunday, June 26 a Christian youth worship event called Xpression05 is being held at the ground and is again expected to draw large crowds.

The meetings are a major bonus for Ipswich's tourist industry and tourism chiefs believe their international status could help the town lure other major events to be held here in the future.

Mr Stainer said: "This will help people to think 'we've had a lovely time being involved in the conference but next time we'll just come and relax here'.

"If it goes well, which it will, this is showing that Ipswich can react to a large international event like this.

"Not only will it attract similar events in the future but it will attract other hotel chains and investment."

Weblinks: www.mothersunion2005.org

N Is your business set to benefit from the June events? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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