TOURISM bosses claim there is a wave of optimism breaking over Tendring’s tourism industry.

They claim the tide is turning with the value of visitors to the district hitting £373 million last year – more than £1 million per day.

The number of people employed in the industry was 6,183 in 2016 and it has been on a steady upward spiral since 2012.

The Love Clacton campaign launched two years ago funded jointly by Clacton Pier, Clacton Pavilion and Tendring Council.

Billy Ball, a director of Clacton Pier, said: “By us all putting money into the pot we are able to support a significant campaign which is continuing to promote the town on a national scale.

“The pier has plans underway for a major seven-figure refurbishment which involves an all-weather, undercover exciting development to make every square inch of our 6.5 acre site pay for itself.

“We would not be embarking on such a huge project unless we had confidence in the area and that has grown stronger over the past few years.”

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

  • Campaign - The Love Clacton advert

Billy Peak, who runs Clacton Pavilion and Magic City, agrees Tendring is on the up and that momentum must be maintained.

“The improved link-up between the public and private sector is definitely a factor which is contributing to that,” he said.

“We can work better and smarter and achieve more if we are all pulling in the same direction and helping each other.

“We all have the same goal – to see the area thrive as a destination of choice.”

Clacton Pavilion has planning permission for its third phase of development, which includes a water park for children and it is hoped to have some of the facilities ready for next season.

Tendring Council said the private and public sector are working more closely than ever before in a bid to bring additional visitors to the area.

Mick Skeels, the council’s cabinet member for leisure and tourism, said: “There is no doubt that all coastal areas have had some tough times and plenty of challenges in recent years.

“It has been a rough ride but I think it is one that has finally started to get a little smoother.

“We have teamed up more closely with the private sector and talk to each other more than we used to in the past and it is definitely paying dividends.”

In 2012, the value of tourism to Tendring was £347million, but that increased to £373million last year.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

  • The National Jet Ski Championship in Clacton

Employment in the industry also rose steadily from 5,590 to 6,183 over the same period.

“These statistics don’t lie and they paint a very encouraging picture for all those with a vested interest in tourism,” added Mr Skeels.

“Clacton Airshow goes from strength to strength, Tendring has hosted three stages of the Women’s Tour cycle event in 2014 and 2015 and the men’s Tour of Britain only last month.

“There have been Beside the Seaside Events in Clacton and Harwich, Theatre on the Greensward, the Illuminate Festival and we are looking to make the most of the opportunity that Mayflower 400 presents for Harwich in 2020 and beyond.”

The Harwich and Dovercourt Tourism Group was launched in 2015 and came up with the new Historic Harwich brand – to increase promotion of the area.

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  • Hotel - Paul Milsom (left) at the relaunch of the Pier Hotel in Harwich

Paul Milsom, of Milsom Hotels and Restaurants, chairs the group and is certain it has made a significant difference.

“Businesses have joined forces with TDC, Harwich Town Council and the voluntary sector to discuss our joint aspirations and put Harwich on the map as a destination,” he said.

“It has been a very refreshing experience and has created a positive vibe and a new spirit of co-operation. We put together a new tourism website and promotional film and we are working on a number of ideas going forward.

“I am sure that we will continue to develop new ideas which will benefit businesses into the future.”