From the blog
Tourism boost for Ipswich
BY PAUL CLEMENT
As many of you may have seen on the front page of the Ipswich Star today, medstore Ipswich has received a major tourism boost.
Ipswich Central, the Business Improvement District (BID) for Ipswich, has announced that it will lead an initiative to drive more visitors and tourists to the county town.
The potential for Ipswich and the surrounding area to be seen as a visitor destination has received a boost with the announcement that Ipswich Central will work with tourism industry partners to develop a Destination Management Organisation (DMO).
The BID, which represents 625 businesses in the town centre, has commissioned and funded research from Aecom, a global technical services provider, to identify the potential of the Ipswich area for increased visitors. This showed that, in central Ipswich alone, there is potential to increase day visits by 680,000 a year and overnight stays by a further 26,000 with the research assessing the economic benefit of any such uplift to be in excess of £48 million a year.
Ipswich Central’s Chairman, Terry Baxter, said: “The research findings are very clear. Ipswich has the potential to become a destination in its own right but has often underachieved. Reaching our ultimate goal requires new thinking and a commitment to working alongside a broad range of partners. We will do so and work starts tomorrow.
“Aecom has helped us develop a business plan and we have formed the DMO Company with Alex Paul, Director of Sales and Marketing at Gough Hotels its Chair; and the Ipswich Hoteliers Group have committed to working with us.”
Alex Paul, Ipswich Central Board Member and Chair of the DMO Company for Ipswich added: “This is a great step forward in releasing the potential of Ipswich as a visitor destination as well as a gateway to the whole of Suffolk. I am extremely encouraged by the energy and ambition of all the tourism partners involved in this project and I do believe, by establishing a private sector led Destination Management Organisation (DMO) for Ipswich, we will work much more effectively to improve the visitor economy in Ipswich.”
Ipswich Central conducted the preparatory work alongside Babergh, Mid-Suffolk and St. Edmundsbury councils. It is thought likely that future joint initiatives will be pursued with them, along with the established, Suffolk Coastal DMO.