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Year-long plan to boost Colchester tourism set to continue

Date issued: 13 July 2017

A programme to promote Colchester and the surrounding area as a top-tier tourist destination by Colchester Borough Council through Visit Colchester has been extended for an additional twelve months. The campaign began in June 2016 and will now continue until June 2018.

Designed to increase visitor numbers to Colchester the campaign has focused particularly on those making short stays and undertaking group travel.

The campaign began with The Treasures Of Colchester swiftly followed by I Spy Colchester and the accompanying Instagram competition the Seven Wonders of Colchester. The campaign appears to have captured the public's imagination and seen high levels of engagement across all Visit Colchester's social media accounts. As a result Visit Colchester has seen significant and encouraging growth across all its social media accounts.*

Tourism figures** released earlier in the year are also validating Visit Colchester's feedback which show increasing visitor numbers to the town. The positive trend is hoped to continue over the coming years, with the true effects of the campaign not to be known for a few years yet. Colchester is a vibrant, prosperous and welcoming town with a distinguished past and a visionary future and Visit Colchester are looking to affirm this far and wide for the next year.

The new campaign for 2017-2018, launching on the 24 July, entitled If Our Walls Could Talk, shines a spotlight on Colchester's rich social and economic history. Using the building blocks of the town, its walls, Colchester's history will be highlighted and shared. What could the walls of the largest surviving Norman keep in Europe tell us? What bloodshed have the walls of the Old Siege House seen or, indeed, how many marriage proposals have restaurants in the Borough heard? The campaign will feature stripped-back visuals focusing on the true beauty and history of the town, and take the public through a journey of 2000 years of history right up to the modern day.

Throughout the campaign Visit Colchester will be running various promotions and competitions for the public to get involved with - starting with a selfie competition on its Instagram account over the summer holidays. To take part, Visit Colchester is asking the public to get out and about and snap selfies in front of walls of note in the Borough. Creativity and personal stories are welcomed. Let Visit Colchester know about those landmark moments in individuals' lives and help share the wonderful history the Borough holds, and be proud of Britain's oldest recorded town. The prize draw for the selfie competition includes a fabulous afternoon tea at the Tiptree tea room at the Minories, Peter Pan tickets at the Mercury Theatre and a guided tour of Colchester's famous walls plus some I Love Colchester bears!* **

Cllr Tim Young, Deputy Leader of Colchester Borough Council, said: "Tourism is a key sector for economic growth in Colchester and investment into increasing visitor numbers to the Borough is a key priority for the Council. During the past year the tourism campaign has gained traction and by continuing the campaign for another year this momentum will continue to grow and bring more visitors to the town therefore contributing to the tourism economy.

"I would like to encourage as many people as possible to follow Visit Colchester's social media feeds and get involved with the competitions and promotions so we can help share what a wonderful place Colchester is to visit."

Aimee Smith, Marketing Manager for the Tea Rooms at Wilkin & Sons Ltd, said:"We are delighted to be supporting Visit Colchester's most recent tourism campaign. Focusing on Colchester's walls is a fantastic way of highlighting the amazing history that the Borough boasts. Queen Victoria was on the throne when Arthur Charles Wilkin produced our first preserve, the walls of the room that oversaw this production are still standing as part of our museum today. I encourage as many people as possible to share their stories involving Colchester's walls and I look forward to welcoming the winner at the Tiptree tearoom at the Minories in September."

Steve Mannix, Executive Director for the Mercury Theatre, said: "Although we are normally all about knocking down walls, we're very happy to be working alongside Visit Colchester on their campaign and look forward to seeing all the entries. Within the Mercury we have many walls both solid and temporary which could certainly tell a tale or two, and I hope that residents will make the most of this opportunity to get to know us, and other local attractions, a little better!"