A campaign to attract new visitors to Newmarket which is set to launch later this year has received a £30,000 council boost.
The five year loan, from Forest Heath District Council to the Newmarket Experience group, has filled the funding gap required to take the project forward.
The group, which includes businesses and visitor attractions such as The Jockey Club (Newmarket Racecourses, The National Stud and Jockey Club Estates), the Animal Health Trust and the National Horseracing Museum, is currently developing a strategy for maximising the tourism potential of the town with the opening of the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art in 2016 which it is anticipated will attract tens of thousands of additional visitors to the area.
The provisional timing for an announcement of the overall plans is by the end of the year. The plan has been developed with the support of funding from the British Horseracing Grants Scheme.
Noel Byrne, chairman of Newmarket Experience and chief executive of the Bedford Lodge Hotel and spa, said: “These are exciting times for Newmarket and we are delighted that Forest Heath District Council is making such a valuable contribution to the work being carried out to grow our market for tourism, along with increasing footfall into the town.
“We have so many assets for attracting greater numbers of visitors which will be of benefit to the whole town. The funding from the British Horseracing grants scheme has helped us develop a viable business case and get to this first stage.”
Cllr Warwick Hirst, cabinet member for Health, Leisure and Culture, said: “There is a vast tourism opportunity in and around Newmarket, just waiting to be explored. As well as the gallops and yards, we have a wealth of Royal history. By making this loan, Forest Heath has secured itself a place at the table, alongside The Jockey Club , Newmarket Racecourses, The National Stud and Jockey Club Estates, the Animal Health Trust, The National Horseracing Museum and many of the other major bodies involved in the industry, to help shape how we maximise this tourism offer.”