A TOP hotel chain wants to open a hotel in Harwich to take advantage of the town’s thriving cruise industry.

Travelodge has chosen the town as one of the country’s key cruise port destinations where it wants to expand and open another hotel.

The hotel giant wants to open a hotel in the town as part of national £60 million investment.

It could create 30 new jobs for Harwich residents.

Harwich is one of ten UK cruise destinations where the firm wants to expand after a record of two million cruises were taken by British holidaymakers in 2017, a six per cent increase from the year before.

Veteran councillor Ivan Henderson said he welcomed the announcement.

He said: “We certainly need more beds available for people visiting and tourists coming to the town, especially leading up to the big events coming up in the town like the Mayflower 400 project.”

The Mayflower 400 will mark 400 years since the Mayflower sailed from England to the new land of America in September 2020.

The ship was built in Harwich and its captain Christopher Jones lived, and twice wed, in the town.

Mr Henderson added: “It’s fantastic news and it’s really good the Travelodge has had the confidence to want to establish themselves in our town. It’s great.

“I am really pleased a big hotel chain such as Travelodge knows what Harwich has to offer and it will be growing in popularity with the big events coming up.

“It is also great to hear that the hotel will create additional jobs in the town.”

Zoe Fairley, Tendring Council cabinet member for investment and growth, said it was fantastic news that Travelodge was looking to run a hotel in Harwich.

“This shows that others outside of Harwich are picking up on what we have known for a long time – that Harwich and Dovercourt is a really up-and-coming destination,” she said.

“There are already some excellent hotels in the area, but the arrival of a big chain that can cater for more people can only be a good thing in attracting people visiting the town – whether from England or arriving on a cruise ship – to stay longer, and of course also providing jobs.

“This will build on the existing work to make Harwich a real tourist destination ready for the Mayflower 400 celebrations in 2020, and beyond.

“A string of high profile US journalists have been coming to the area and writing positive pieces for audiences of millions of Americans, who all have an interest in Harwich as the origins of their nation.”

Tony O’Brien, Travelodge property director said: “The cruise boom is still underway and predicted to grow from strength to strength, therefore, we are getting on board now and looking for ten new hotel sites at UK’s growing Ports, which includes Harwich.

“This overall expansion represents an investment of £60 million for third party investors and will create around 300 new jobs.

“With more Britons taking to the waves, our port-based hotels are benefitting from holidaymakers stopping over before embarking and returning from their voyage.”

The other nine cruise port locations Travelodge has chosen include, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Hull, Greenock, Liverpool, Newcastle, Portsmouth, Poole, Southampton and Tilbury.