Your Town: ‘Tourism is the future of Great Yarmouth’ - Council boss keen to maintain industry as vital part of town
- Credit: Nick Butcher
As part of our ongoing project putting the spotlight on life in some of our biggest towns, Joe Norton takes a look at Great Yarmouth.
Since the 19th century, Great Yarmouth has been a popular destination for British holidaymakers who flocked to the seaside town to enjoy its wide sandy beaches and popular market chips.
Although the town may no longer attract the number of tourists it once did, there is still a special buzz and sense of anticipation which arises as the holiday season approaches.
Generating £600m and employing 12,000 people, the tourism sector remains a vital part of not just the town of Great Yarmouth but the borough as a whole.
With investment on the town’s seafront set to continue, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Graham Plant, is excited by the opportunities tourism will continue to bring.
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“Tourism is the future of Great Yarmouth and it is an industry we have protected and supported for more than 30 years,” he said.
“The industry is a mainstay of the borough and it is great to see a continued investment into popular tourist attractions.”
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The council announced plans to demolish the Marina Centre and replace it with a new £26m water and leisure centre complex last year, while work to restore one of the town’s iconic landmarks - the Venetian Waterways - is due to be completed by May.
The council hopes its £2.7m flagship project will re-establish the Waterways as one of the town’s most popular features.
Another one of Yarmouth’s recognisable landmarks which the council is desperate to secure the long term future of is the Winter Gardens.
Having had a bid rejected last year which was hoped to rekindle the magic which once surrounded the landmark building, Great Yarmouth Borough Council is now looking to find a commercial investor to help fund a revamp.
One attraction whose stay in the town was rather more short-lived was the Air Show.
Earlier this year its bosses confirmed the event, which saw an estimated 180,000 people entertained by a number of top flight planes last summer, would not be returning in 2019.
In our survey 29pc of our readers said they were ‘very disappointed’ the show would not be returning, whereas, 32pc of you were ‘not disappointed at all’.
Although the Red Arrows and alike will not be gracing the skies of Great Yarmouth this year, 2019 will see several long-serving events returning to the town.
This will include the Maritime Festival and Out There - a circus and street arts festival.
Alan Carr, chief executive of Greater Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area - which is responsible for organising the Maritime Festival - believes the town provides a wide choice of activities to amuse, entertain and educate tourists.
“Great Yarmouth has a reputation for staging high profile events that attract new visitors because of the great mix of shows that appeal to a wide audience,” Mr Carr said.
One man who has continued to invest into the town’s tourism industry is Pleasure Beach owner Albert Jones.
His latest project will see a new leisure complex built on the town’s Golden Mile.
The first phase of the Edge, which is due to be completed in time for Easter, will see a new £7.5m Premier Inn and Beefeater restaurant open on the seafront.
Mr Jones has described the continued investment into one of the town’s most important industries as great.
He said: “We are not trying to compete against anyone else it is just a case of bringing something different to Great Yarmouth.
“By doing this we are extending the seafront by almost half a mile which can only benefit the town.
“Great Yarmouth is definitely on the up.”
With another action-packed summer ahead, Mr Plant said he was really excited for the coming months.
“Great Yarmouth is still a lovely place to come and we have another excellent line-up of events and attractions to look forward to this year,” he said.
“It is great to see the continued investment into the town which will only help to attract more people to Great Yarmouth.”