With tourism week culminating on Sunday, now is a perfect opportunity to reflect on the attractions our area has to offer and the warm welcome that awaits them. With centuries of history, stunning countryside and its annual festivals, Bury St Edmunds and beyond is a must.
I spend a large amount of my time highlighting the broad and exciting tourism offer we have. Arts, culture and history are often intertwined and that it certainly the case for ‘Bury St Edmunds and beyond’.
Whether it is our beautiful cathedral, the Abbey ruins, celebrating its millennium next year as of one of the most significant monasteries in Europe or our unique place in the history of the Magna Carta and the story of St Edmund. Further afield the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket, Needham Lakes and our beautiful countryside are all a draw to visitors. We are home to Britain’s last remaining regency theatre and one of the best retail offers in the East.
So much of this would not be possible without the hard work of volunteers. The historical offer we have is largely because of the work of people who are passionate about preserving our history and sharing it with others. They are a testament to the community spirit that we have locally and the pride in where live and should never be taken for granted.
We should not underestimate how crucial our fantastic hospitality is to attracting tourism. Whether restaurants, pubs, bars or cafes for people to socialise in or the hotels and guest houses, we have a lot to offer. After all, we are home to one of the biggest hospitality businesses in the UK in Greene King and some of the best Independents around. We can all build on our potential to become a hub where people can stay and then explore the East of England. With so much to take in, you would need more than a day after all!
I would like us to share our offerings with even more visitors. With our proximity to Cambridge we have a lot to offer visitors from near and far and with the introduction of new trains by Greater Anglia this year even a comfortable journey is on offer. We are competing with other places for the ‘tourist pound’ and good transport infrastructure will play an important part in our continued success.
Tourism brings jobs and investment. It complements our first-class hospitality sector and shows our wonderful towns at their best. Let’s continue to work together to prove why ‘Bury St Edmunds and beyond’ is the jewel in Suffolk’s crown.