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Royal Norfolk Show could be three days

PUBLISHED: 10:21 06 July 2009 | UPDATED: 14:20 03 July 2010

THE Royal Norfolk Show could be extended to three days in the future - but only if the sums were to add up in advance and the additional day was justified by a large increase in the overall visitor numbers, show organisers said last night.

THE Royal Norfolk Show could be extended to three days in the future - but only if the sums were to add up in advance and the additional day was justified by a large increase in the overall visitor numbers, show organisers said last night.

There has been talk for some years of extending the show by an extra day, but the demise of the four-day Royal Show in Warwickshire, which will hold its 160th and final event next week, has seen the idea revisited. The Royal Show has fallen victim to reduced visitor numbers, animal disease and poor weather and is said by organisers not to be financially viable.

Back in Norfolk, the two-day show at Costessey - the largest two-day agricultural show in the country - proved its ongoing health this week with high visitor numbers - as yet unconfirmed but about 100,000 - and burgeoning numbers of traders.

Yesterday, chief executive of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association John Purling said the three-day idea remained “in the mix”, but it needed careful handling and justification.

As the clear-up operation continued from the events of Wednesday and Thursday, Mr Purling said: “It's not top of the agenda, but it is a subject of debate. It's not an easy one.

“We are in quite the reverse position of the Royal Show, thriving and looking good for the future. So there is the thought, 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' to consider. After all, we currently attract more people across two days than many other shows do over three.

“We have to ask - what are we going to get out of three days that we don't already get out of two?

“If we are simply spreading a very successful event over three days rather than two, there is a big question mark.

“Are we going to get another 50,000 visitors from an extra day? I think the figure we would look at needing to attract is probably 130,000 to 135,000 in total.”

Mr Purling said any change would have to be structured so it produced a “win, win situation for everybody”, including visitors, traders and organisers.

“If we were struggling and needed to increase income, it would be a more straightforward decision. But we aren't. Not everybody thinks three days is the right thing to do.”

Research would continue into the three-day option, assessing reactions from the different sectors and allowing a “well-informed judgment”, said Mr Purling.

Manpower, the physical constraints of the showground and the fact there were around 120 other events on the showground throughout the year were just some of the matters for consideration.

The Royal Show opens its gates on July 7 and expects to attract 100,000 visitors.

Denis Chamberlain, marketing director of organisers the Royal Agricultural Society of England, said: “There will be a really special buzz around the showground, because this is the last show.

“We are determined to give everyone a great show.”

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