Tourist bosses launch bid to boost overnight visitors to Ipswich

Ipswich Waterfront

Ipswich Waterfront - Credit: Archant

The culture and heritage of Ipswich should be used to encourage more holidaymakers to stay in the town either as a short-break destination or as an “add-on” to a longer holiday in the area.

Speakers and organisers at the Celebrating Ipswich destination management event held at Trinity Park

Speakers and organisers at the Celebrating Ipswich destination management event held at Trinity Park. Picture: Pagepix

The Celebrating Ipswich conference at Trinity Park was organised by the town’s new Destination Management Organisation (DMO), Ipswich Central and the University of Suffolk to bring together hotels, leisure based companies and civic leaders to look at how to attract more visitors to the town.

The headline speaker was Andrew Stokes, director of Visit England, who was able to advise delegates how to make the most of what the town has to offer – his previous job as boss of Marketing Manchester saw him bring millions of visitors to the northern city.

The chairman of Ipswich DMO Alex Paul said the town needed to look at ways of attracting new visitors – and encouraging those who were coming to spend longer in Ipswich.

He said: “We want the day visitors to come and spend their money here – but we want to turn them into overnight visitors and to spend more time enjoying what we have to offer.

“There is the Waterfront and the town centre and all the cultural offer that you find here in Ipswich.”

Ipswich was ideally placed as a location for a short-stay weekend break – but also as a base for a longer holiday with Constable country and the heritage coast nearby.

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And it could be an attractive stop-off for people heading to longer holiday elsewhere in East Anglia.

Mr Paul said: “We have to look at all these strands. We have been working up a strategy for the last six to nine months and we are now ready to really start promoting the town.”

The fall in the value of the pound meant that UK holidays and short breaks now looked like much better value than they had in the past – and the town should be able to take advantage of that to boost its tourist profile, he added.

Tourism is currently estimated to be worth about £220m a year to the Ipswich Economy and the DMO believes an extra £65m a year could be generated by 2020 – bringing the prospect of new jobs and more tourist businesses to the town.