From the blog

Rising visitor numbers are great news for us all

I was pleased to read a recent report from Visit Suffolk showing that the number of visitors to the East of England region grew faster than to any other area of the country last year. Apparently, health overnight stays rose by almost 10%, health spend per visit was up by 12%, and that meant over £1.6 million was added to the local economy.

Some suggest that our region has, historically, not been thought of enough as a place to stay and so these growth figures are based upon a low starting point. I’m not sure if that’s true or not. All I do know is that these figures must be good news.

Increased numbers of visitors are important for any area. Hotels and guesthouses rely upon them; restaurants and cafes thrive because of them; and retailers shift more stock to them. Don’t take it personally, but the reality is that our local businesses would much prefer a visitor to walk through their door than you or I. The visitor will stay longer and spend more. There is also the prospect that the incomer will like the area so much that they will choose to move their own business here, to come and work here, to study here, or simply to move their home here. If they like what they find, they are also very likely to tell a friend or a relative who may visit themselves, and so the cycle starts again.

What that means for you and I is a wider economy that will grow exponentially. Because of the extra income available, we will see more business start-ups – that’s more shops, more restaurants, more cafes, and so on. Employers will create more new jobs. And an influx of new residents will see more houses built.

We all gain from the East being perceived as a great place to stay. Let’s all spread the word. Long may the current trend continue!

A similar article to this appeared in the Business East (East Anglian Daily Times) on 16 June 2015.