Nature lovers, culture vultures, 'genteel tea' National Trust visitors and the 'upper reaches of the rural social set' who all visit East Cambridgeshire

PUBLISHED: 16:51 11 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:51 11 March 2019

The sun rises behind Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire. The cathedral remains our principal tourism attraction but how to attract and keep more is the challenge facing East Cambs.  Picture: JOE GIDDENS/PA

The sun rises behind Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire. The cathedral remains our principal tourism attraction but how to attract and keep more is the challenge facing East Cambs. Picture: JOE GIDDENS/PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Tourism is booming in East Cambridgeshire with one in ten people making a living out of the four million annual visitors - only 271,600 of them however staying over.

The Harley Davidson monument in Littleport.The Harley Davidson monument in Littleport.

The figures are contained in a tourism report to East Cambs Council that shows the total value of tourism to be worth £200 million annually with 4,350 jobs dependent on it – 9.3 per cent of all employment.

The report says that East Cambridgeshire has 30 visitor attractions, four larger attractions that border it, 100 public houses and restaurants, and 53 accommodation providers ranging from campsites to hotels.

It was discovered that more than half of all visitors make their way home after their visit rather than having something to eat or to explore the area further.

The survey offers a glimpse of how people spend their money with visitors to places such as Wicken Fen described as “modest spenders” on food and drink and more than a third of visitors to Anglesey Abbey spending less than £10.

Burwell Mill decapitation day.The 6-ton cap was finally lifted off Burwell Mill. Picture: Steve Williams.Burwell Mill decapitation day.The 6-ton cap was finally lifted off Burwell Mill. Picture: Steve Williams.

In Ely and Newmarket the spend is better, with two thirds of visitors shelling out between £10 to £60 per visit “however at all attractions very few visitors spend more than £60 during their trip”.

The survey categorises visitors into five groups – horse sport enthusiasts, culture vultures, National Trust groupies, nature lovers and families.

Horse sport enthusiasts are described as those who “mostly inhabit the upper reaches of the rural social set” and have the wealth to support large and extended families.

Culture vultures are said to be those “fanatical about art and culture” and mainly aged 55 and over, many retired who enjoy pubs and picnic lunches.

A pair of Roe Deer near Baker’s Fen just before sunset. Picture: WICKEN FEN FACEBOOKA pair of Roe Deer near Baker’s Fen just before sunset. Picture: WICKEN FEN FACEBOOK

National Trust visitors prefer “genteel tea and cakes in the NT café”, nature lovers take to “flasks, sandwiches and picnics” whilst families want an enjoyable day out “without breaking the bank”. They enjoy places that are free to enter “and opt for a picnic “to avoid high catering costs”.

In a bid to retain and improve their tourism offer, the district council is discussing a strategy to boost visitor numbers.

The community services committee heard of plans for a new tourism website for East Cambridgeshire and the possibility of developing what they term “a new district wide brand”. Councillors were told how the brand could be determined, how it can be developed through use of a slogan, name and logo and how it could be developed.

Committee chairman Cllr David Ambrose-Smith said the launch of a tourism strategy and its “associated outcomes endorse the council’s commitment to making East Cambridgeshire a fantastic place to live and visit”.

Prickwillow Engine MuseumPrickwillow Engine Museum

Finding a brand name for East Cambridgeshire is considered a priority as the report notes that “there is no predominantly recognised name” for the district.

Ely riverside walkEly riverside walk

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