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Norwich in line for Olympics boost

PUBLISHED: 18:00 12 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:14 01 July 2010

Caroline Jarrold, chairman of VisitNorwich

Caroline Jarrold, chairman of VisitNorwich

Sarah Brealey

Tourism bosses have welcomed plans to help Norwich cash in on the Olympics and a new fund to boost British tourism.

The city is well placed to benefit from a boom in visitor numbers, with the county's good transport links both to Olympic sites and to Europe.

Tourism bosses have welcomed plans to help Norwich cash in on the Olympics and a new fund to boost British tourism.

The city is well placed to benefit from a boom in visitor numbers, with the county's good transport links both to Olympic sites and to Europe.

The new culture secretary yesterday issued a challenge to the industry to increase the level of domestic tourism. Promising “the best marketing plan that any country has ever had”, Jeremy Hunt's first keynote speech also launched a new fund to market the UK abroad.

With flights from Amsterdam to Norwich, and direct trains from Norwich to Stratford, which is on the doorstep of the Olympics action, the city is well-placed for visitors looking for a break before or after the Olympics in 2012, or even looking for somewhere to stay during the games.

Caroline Jarrold, chairman of VisitNorwich, said: “Norwich is extremely well located to offer visitors pre, post and during Olympics stays...We look forward to learning more about this new fund and how we can access it for the benefit of Norwich and Norfolk. We also must recognise that this is a massive opportunity to raise the profile of this beautiful city and county worldwide and nationally. We must encourage visitors and holiday makers to think of Norwich and Norfolk way beyond 2012.”

Lydia Smith, director of Norfolk Tourism, said: “We are very pleased that Jeremy Hunt has recognised the importance of the local tourism industry. We like the positive sound of his message.

“We have been working closely with Norfolk County Council and other partners on an overall marketing strategy for 2012 and we know that we have to have all our actions in place by next spring. The next six months are really important for us.”

Norwich City Council leader Steve Morphew said: “Around the Olympics there is a huge amount of potential which has yet to be appreciated. Our train line takes people to the doorstep of the Olympics. Given the shortages of accommodation there will be in London, people could stay in Norwich and travel down to the events they want to see. It will encourage people to build up the number and quality of hotel offer and local tourist attractions.”

Mr Hunt announced a new fund with the aim of generating £1bn worth of PR and marketing activity in the UK's markets overseas in the years around 2012. Detailed plans of how this fund will work will be published by the end of September. It is likely to come from a mixture of government cash matched by the private sector, including Olympics sponsors and industry partners.

And he also set the country's tourism industry a new goal, to get British people spending as much on staycations as they do on travelling abroad.

Mr Hunt also said he would review the web of quangos that affect tourism, aiming to simplify and focus support for the industry.

Tourism is a major part of the Norfolk economy, contributing more than £2.4bn and 47,200 jobs. The Evening News has been encouraging people to holiday in Norfolk as part of its Do Different Do Norfolk campaign.

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