Visit Kent has unveiled ambitious plans to grow Kent’s visitor economy by a further five million visitors by 2021.

The announcement comes days after the news that a record 60.6 million visitors came to The Garden of England in 2015, and the visitor economy has grown 49% in the last ten years under Visit Kent and its public and private sector partners’ governance.

Visit Kent chairman, Jonathan Neame, said: “Kent’s visitor economy is in a strong position, having grown significantly and steadily over the last decade, welcoming more people, supporting more jobs and bringing more money to the county than ever before.

“However, we are not complacent. With the support of our public and private sector partners and leading stakeholders, including Kent County Council, we have great ambitions for the future of Kent’s visitor economy. We aim to bring an additional five million visitors to Kent in the next five years, and create an additional 5,000 jobs for the county.”

These new visitors will generate more than £300million for the Kent visitor economy, and this in turn will create more than 5,000 new jobs. Earlier this month, independent research commissioned by Visit Kent revealed that Kent’s visitor economy topped £3.6billion for the first time ever in 2015, welcoming a record number of domestic and overseas visitors and supporting 72,000 jobs.

The county remains the third most visited destination outside of London for foreign visitors, and is outstripping other destinations’ national growth figures.

CEO of Visit Kent, Sandra Matthews-Marsh MBE, said: “Our latest figures show that we really do deliver on our promises. We set ourselves ambitious targets from the day we started to grow the visitor economy with more day trips and short breaks, and have seen consistent economic growth ever since.

“This is thanks to billions of pounds of investment by the public and private sector in to Kent’s tourism infrastructure to ensure a world-class visitor offer, and the unceasing commitment of our partners to work together on a single vision and strategy for tourism.

“This is a long-term strategy that will benefit the entire county. Not only does the visitor economy support job creation at all levels, from apprenticeships to graduate roles, but it also support social inclusion.”

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