TOURISM is the key to the countryside, Adam Henson told industry representatives as they watched him press the button to launch the new Cambridgeshire Fens website.

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“The general public are more engaged with food and farming as they have been for many years, and for Fenland District Council to support tourism by using a multi-media platform is wonderful, it is the way forward,” he said.

“It is really exciting to launch the new website, and I am sure it will drive more people to the district.”

The website is the culmination of nine months work by the new Fenland Tourism, Board, made up of seven trade representatives and four councillors.

Tourism board chairman Councillor Mike Cornwell said: “Support from tourism industry representatives and the appointed councillors has been fantastic.

“If we ask for help, there has always been volunteers; and if we have asked for ideas, they have always been forthcoming.

“We have come so far in such a short time. A lot of that is down to the enthusiastic staff at Fenland District Council, and the commitment from the volunteers.

“Businesses involved in tourism are often small employers, putting their heart and soul into their work and they deserve our backing. It is about time we realised how much Fenland has to offer.”

Council leader Councillor Alan Melton said: “We recognise that tourism is one of the main drivers of our economic development, and it is a shop window for the Fens.

“The Tourism Board has done a great job, it has been a gigantic Fenland effort, and I am very proud of them.

“The Fens has so much to offer and we want to advertise that fact to as many people as possible. Our website is going to be a market leader.

“Today we can be very proud of what we have achieved with hard earned tax payers money, and it will pay huge dividends. I can promise that we shall continue to resource tourism in Fenland.”

Tourism Board volunteer Liz Wright said: “I am passionate about Fenland. I came here in 1983, and I love the landscape and want everyone to know about it.

“This has been a brilliant day, to show Fenland off, as something to be proud of, we have so much to offer.”

Councillor Pop Jolley, portfolio holder for leisure and tourism at Fenland District Council, said: “We had to do something to promote tourism in Fenland, the tourism board has been a great success and they have done a great job.”

The website got a warm welcome from tourism industry representatives.

Mike Day of Orchard Tea Rooms and Little Ranch Leisure at Wisbech, said: “I am really pleased the board is pushing Fenland, I hope it will make more people stay to take a look around district, rather than drive through on the way to Norfolk.”

Tourism board member Teresa Fowler, from Common Rights self catering units and caravan site at Tholomas Drove said: “I am delighted the council is bringing tourism to the fore,” and board member Paula Syred added: “I hope this is the start of a renewed interest in Fenland tourism.”

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