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One in seven workers in Ipswich employed in tourism-related jobs as town attracts three million visitors each year

PUBLISHED: 11:56 24 October 2016 | UPDATED: 11:56 24 October 2016

Ipswich Waterfront Celebration taking place along the Ipswich Quayside.

Ipswich Waterfront Celebration taking place along the Ipswich Quayside.

More than three million day visitors to Ipswich helped to swell tourism business coffers by £250m last year, according to new statistics.

And 340,000 people stayed in hotels and guest houses – staying a total of 1.2 million nights – a 5% jump in the value of overnight visits in the past year.

The number of day visitors in 2015 was 2% up on the previous year, and tourism bosses said this showed that improvements to the town were succeeding in bringing in more people . . . and their money.

The figures shows that tourism is key to the Ipswich economy – it brings in £242 million and provides more than 4,600 jobs – one in seven of the town’s workforce.

The Ipswich visitor statistics are in a new report: Economic Impact of Tourism 2015 undertaken by Destination Research.

Hotels, retailers, theatres and restaurants are all said to be feeling the benefit as the Ipswich statistics match those of the East of England region. Unlike traditional resorts, the town does not rely just on the summer months – tourism spend is fairly constant throughout the year.

Council Leader David Ellesmere welcomed the trend. He said: “Ipswich has so much to offer day visitors and people who want to stay longer. We have a cultural offer second to none in Suffolk, with events attracting 1,250,000 people last year.

“We have the Regent Theatre, the biggest entertainment venue in the region; and two award-winning museums. We also have a fantastic array of restaurants and cafes both in the town centre and on the Waterfront.”

This has been boosted with the conversion of the Buttermarket centre into a magnet for restaurants and with the Empire cinema due to open before Christmas.

Mr Ellesmere said tourism was a vital sector in the local economy. “We are working closely with our partners to co-ordinate our visitor offer, taking advantage of our rich heritage, new university and beautiful parks to attract more people and create and sustain more jobs.

“Nationally, research indicates a growing number of people enjoying ‘staycations’ – we want to attract more of them here as Ipswich is an ideal base from which to explore coast and country.”

Alex Paul, Chair of the Ipswich Destination Management Organisation commented: “These are very encouraging figures for Ipswich and gives us real momentum to work with as we try to realise the potential of Ipswich as an compelling visitor destination.

“There is no doubt that that tourism can be a real economic driver for Ipswich and these figures show that if we continue to invest in our product we can achieve even greater success.”

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