New tourism project aims to make Clare an area to ‘rival the Cotswolds’

From left; Cllr Alaric Pugh, Cllr Paul Bishop. James Cartlidge MP, Susan Moore and Cllr Mary Evans at the launch of Visit Clare. Photo by Paul Sargeant.
From left; Cllr Alaric Pugh, Cllr Paul Bishop. James Cartlidge MP, Susan Moore and Cllr Mary Evans at the launch of Visit Clare. Photo by Paul Sargeant.
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A new initiative to attract more visitors to the Clare area – and boost the local economy – has been launched.

South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge and a host of guests, including local business people and town, borough and county representatives, attended the launch of Visit Clare at Clare Park Lake Golf Course on Friday.

The event also gave the golf club a chance to open its new conference room, which is available to hire.

Visit Clare, formerly Tourism Clare, aims to enhance tourism in the area and draw on the town being part of the Wool Towns’ Association.

Mr Cartlidge praised one of Visit Clare’s main aims, to make the area one that can rival the Cotswolds, adding: “I think the really good thing about it is that it will be proactive and promote the area.”

Jon Miles, economic development officer for St Edmundsbury Borough Council, emphasised how the authority’s main aim was to “ensure the growth of the local economy”, including offering support and helping Visit Clare to access funding streams.

Paul Bishop, chairman of Clare Town Council, said: “What we are trying to do is to get more people to come to visit Clare.

“Once you get them here, they will continue to come back – that’s what this project is all about.”

A business plan, including marketing and PR and accessing EU funding for up to £30,000, has been devised to drive the scheme forward.

The business plan document states: “Visit Clare’s ambition is to establish a brand for this distinct part of west Suffolk and then champion the locality to potential visitors, with an emphasis on average duration of visits and on increasing footfall outside of the high season.”

The business plan also states the importance of forming partnerships with the private sector, local businesses, county and borough councils and tourism bodies.