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Visit Kent estimates that Canterbury alone benefits from tourism to the tune of £407m each year. The town’s world-famous cathedral brings in approximately a million visitors each year, while local businesses see trade in the region of £16m from tourists.
East Kent’s rich variety of attractions – from the Quarterhouse in Folkestone, to Margate’s Turner Contemporary gallery, and Dover Castle – guarantees its position as one of the country’s tourism hotspots.
From the UK alone, over 1.6 million made an overnight stay in East Kent in 2009, while across Dover, Thanet and Shepway, 10.1% of employment is generated by the tourism industry.
East Kent’s tourism industry has further been boosted in the last year by Expansion East Kent funding.
As a result of the interest-free loans, Ramsgate’s Royal Harbour Hotel has been able to undertake a significant renovation, while in Margate the Sands Hotel opened its doors over the summer, a boutique 20-bedroom hotel overlooking the seafront.
Alone, the two projects are expected to create up to 83 new jobs, adding to an industry already worth an estimated £1.1bn to the East Kent economy.
What’s more, in autumn 2013 plans were unveiled for a major new hotel development on the Margate seafront, the Rendezvous Site, which will house a 60-bedroom complex next to the town’s iconic Turner Contemporary gallery.