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Lowestoft Air Festival's £11.5m boost

PUBLISHED: 13:39 21 January 2010 | UPDATED: 09:08 01 August 2010

IT is one of the top air shows in the country and now an independent report has revealed that last year's Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival boosted the local economy by an additional £11.

IT is one of the top air shows in the country and now an independent report has revealed that last year's Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival boosted the local economy by an additional £11.5m and created 180 jobs.

The bumper figure includes money spent on accommodation, transport, in shops, on food and drinks and at other attractions. A further £2m was contributed to the regional economy.

Paul Bayfield, managing director of the festival, said: “It is a serious amount of money and it really does come home to you what responsibility we've got.

“Once upon a time Lowestoft was really famous for fishing, now I think it is famous for the air festival. It's certainly made more people aware of where Lowestoft is. People come from all over the country.”

The festival is organised by volunteers and Mr Bayfield said it was “absolutely vital” that visitors donated money while at the free festival and they were looking for sponsors for this year's event.

The report was commissioned by the air show organisers and Waveney District Council, based on research carried out by the East of England Tourist Board and the council.

The figures were derived from an economic impact model widely used in the tourism industry and the same report in 2006 estimated a local boost of £9.8m.

The 2009 festival attracted crowds of about 420,000 and £120,000 was donated. From this, £28,000 was given to local voluntary groups.

The flying schedule included the Red Arrows, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, an Avro Vulcan bomber and a Hawker Hunter.

Mr Bayfield said this year's line-up was yet to be confirmed but they were already in talks to bring the Vulcan back to Lowestoft.

Waveney District Council's head of tourism, Asa Morrison, said the festival was a big chunk of Waveney's annual £238m tourism economy and was a “huge injection of trade” for the town.

“For many years we've been saying this is a really, really big regional event - now we are moving into the realms of it being a really important national event,” said Mr Morrison.

“So many people come, it is highly regarded and exceptionally well run. It is really the highlight of the tourism calendar.

David Scott, owner of Claremont Pier in Lowestoft, said: “A lot of people come from far away and get to see what the town can provide. The atmosphere is very good and it is family orientated.”

To sponsor the festival, call Keith Moughton on 01502 523398 or visit www.lowestoftairfestival.co.uk.

The festival takes place on August 12 and 13.

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