Suffolk in the UK says ecotourism is netting millions

View looking west over the 'scrape' at RSPB Mi...

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ECO-TOURISM is pumping millions of pounds into the Suffolk economy and creating huge numbers of jobs for the area, according to a new report published today.

The study by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) found Suffolk’s biggest nature reserve, RSPB Minsmere, brought a “staggering” £8million into the area in 2009, of which nearly £3m was purely because of the reserve.

It also supported more than 100 jobs, including 37 full-time workers at the reserve itself, and another 66 staff employed by businesses in the area to cater for tourists.

RSPB area manager Ben McFarland said: “Reports such as this illustrate the role nature reserves play, not only for protecting local wildlife, but also their importance in the functioning of local economies.

“Minsmere receives more than 80,000 visitors a year, many of who stay in local hotels, visit cafés and pubs and shop in surrounding towns and villages.

“Despite a general decline in tourism, wildlife tourism continues to grow as people increasingly seek out wilder areas to take a break from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

“This indicates that Minsmere, and other similar large reserves with good facilities, will continue to increase in importance for local areas.”

Lakenheath Fen RSPB reserve also provides a huge boost to the economy around Brandon, bringing in £370,000 in tourist spending as well as providing employment for 16 people.

A spokeswoman for the RSPB at Stour Estuary added: “More and more people are now visiting the special places in Essex such as the Stour Estuary and Cattawade Marshes for the wildlife, birds and fresh air.

“This year the RSPB opened up its wildlife garden at Flatford Mill, in Constable Country. This already thriving area will now have another attraction for visitors bringing more people to the area and inspired by the work of the RSPB.”

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey welcomed the news, which confirmed the value of eco-tourism.

She said: “There are plenty of people who come to Suffolk exclusively to go to places like Minsmere to see our wildlife.

“They come and rent a house for a week or stay in a hotel, so not only is it good for our natural environment but it’s great for our local economy as well. It’s part of an overall package that benefits Suffolk, and we just have to make sure people are aware of the opportunities available to them.”

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2 Comments on “Suffolk in the UK says ecotourism is netting millions”

  1. […] 1 – 1 of 1Select All Select NoneCoach Service (5.3 miles)Related articlesSuffolk in the UK says ecotourism is netting millionsTudor Date Triple-ThreatSox fans staggering to the finishSox fans staggering to the finishwikileaks […]

  2. Development is good, but not at the cost of the environment and ecology ?

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