Norfolk County Council has agreed a five year investment in Visit East of England to make a bid to join VisitEngland’s new structure of accredited tourism organisations.
The £110,000 award per annum for five years means VEE has public sector funding which meets a crucial criteria of becoming a Local Visitor Economy Partnership.
LVEPs, which are being developed following a 2021 national review of Destination Management Organisations (DMOs), will eventually be the only local tourism bodies able to bid into national funding opportunities and engage with VisitBritain/VisitEngland business support.
In recent years Visit East of England, working with local authorities and DMOs, were able to successfully drawn down more than £700,000 of promotional money for campaigns such as The Friendly Invasion, Unexplored England and Enjoy Summer Safely.
VEE Chairman Andy Wood (above) said, ‘It’s very welcome news that Norfolk County Council are backing VEE’s bid to become an accredited LVEP in support of our region’s destinations and tourism businesses, and this is the first step in hopefully making a joint submission for Suffolk and Norfolk.’
Councillor Fabian Eagle, cabinet member for economic growth, said: “Tourism is one of Norfolk’s largest economic sectors and makes up close to 20 per cent of all jobs in the county – many of them in the most deprived coastal areas.
“We have a wealth of tourist attractions – from Norwich to our market towns, from our coastline to our country houses and museums and from our wildlife reserves to our farm parks.
“We want to boost this further and make Norfolk an all-year, sustainable holiday destination. By investing this money, we will support and influence a powerful partnership, concentrating our collective efforts and making more impact.”
Currently, Norfolk is one of the few remaining main tourist destinations in England without an LVEP, while Cornwall, Yorkshire, London and the Peak District have obtained this status.
It is hoped VEE will make an application to become an LVEP in the next round of submissions in December.
Supporting the LVEP application gives the county council an opportunity to link tourism work to its key agendas such as creating jobs, expanding skills and supporting sustainable tourism, as part of its climate strategy.
Pete Waters, executive director of Visit East of England, said: “I’d like to thank Norfolk County Council for this investment in tourism services. This will ultimately benefit and support our local destinations and businesses, the stars in our tourism firmament.
“Being in the new national framework of LVEPs being set up by VisitEngland will give us opportunities to bid for additional funding and business support that will ultimately help drive our visitor economy and grow employment in the sector.”