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The £100 million tourist target

PUBLISHED: 14:37 25 November 2009 | UPDATED: 11:15 23 August 2010

A FAR-REACHING strategy to generate almost £100 million more from tourism has been drawn up Gravesham Borough Council aims to work with business to attract double the number of Kent s tourists to the borough in the next few years. The strategy highlight

A FAR-REACHING strategy to generate almost £100 million more from tourism has been drawn up

Gravesham Borough Council aims to work with business to attract double the number of Kent's tourists to the borough in the next few years.

The strategy highlights factors that leave Gravesend ideally placed to draw more visitors and states that: "Given the scale of the Gravesham economy, relative to other Kent districts, Gravesham ought to be looking to double the value of tourism or at least seek six per cent of Kent's visitors."

In 2006, tourism provided an estimated £97.24 million to Gravesham's economy, with 1,849 jobs - four per cent of employment - supported by the industry.

To bring in more tourists, the council hopes to capitalise on the improved transport to and from London by promoting leisure activities.

Council leader Mike Snelling said: "Gravesham is a unique place, offering new and returning visitors an historic riverside, a wealth of heritage, exceptional countryside and attractive villages."

Attractions such as the riverside area, which is undergoing a £2 million regeneration, the town's connections with Charles Dickens and Pocahontas, the surrounding countryside, classed as an area of outstanding natural beauty, and the new £13 million Sikh temple have been identified as key factors.

Council chiefs hope a pontoon off the town pier for ferries from Essex and London, the White Horse installation along the Thames and a plan to link the New Tavern Fort, Shornemead Fort and the Woodlands Cold War bunker together as a defence heritage cluster will attract many more tourists.

The strategy highlights the importance of building new accommodation in the area to cater for visitors.

Mr Snelling added: "I believe that over the next few years, with the start of High Speed 1 train services and London 2012, we shall be able to extend our welcome and realise many more opportunities to attract visitors to our borough."

He emphasised the importance of investing in transport, accommodation and attractions simultaneously to maximise the town's potential.

The strategy is available for viewing at www.gravesham.gov.

uk/tourismstrategy.

To offer your views to the council e-mail simon.hookway@

gravesham.gov.uk or by post to Simon Hookway, service manager (economic development), Planning and Regeneration Services, Civic Centre, Windmill Street, Gravesend, Kent DA12 1AU by December 9.

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