In line with a draft tourism strategy going out for consultation. Tendring District Council (TDC) confirmed today that the Illuminate Festival, scheduled for November to mark Historic Harwich’s links with The Mayflower, will be postponed until Spring of next year.
Taking place at a similar time in 2021 will be an event to mark the 150th anniversary of Clacton, which it is hoped will kick-start a year of celebrations.
The Clacton 150 event and the rescheduling of Illuminate were announced at TDC’s Cabinet meeting today (Friday, 11 September), where it was also revealed the Mayflower Trail in Harwich would be installed from next week – coinciding with 16 September, the date the Pilgrims set sail for the final time from Plymouth to what was then known as the New World.
Alex Porter, TDC Cabinet Member for Leisure and Tourism, said the events would kick-start the year.
“Last year’s Illuminate Festival was a roaring success, and this year was due to wrap-up a year of festivities as we celebrated 400 years since The Mayflower of Harwich took the Pilgrims to America,” Councillor Porter said.
“Of course Covid-19 has changed things somewhat, and instead many of the celebrations will now take place next year, subject to Coronavirus restrictions – including the Illuminate Festival, which although traditionally held around Thanksgiving will now re-launch the Mayflower 400 programme. With the current Covid-19 restrictions, it would not be possible to do it justice this year, but instead we hope to bookend 2021 with Illuminate Festivals.
“Next year we also have another anniversary to celebrate in our district, Clacton’s birthday, and we’re working with tourism partners in the town to look at how we mark the occasion.
“These proposals will complement a whole series of planned events, which could make 2021 a very special year indeed, and further details will follow over the coming weeks and months. Don’t forget you can keep up-to-date on events in the district through the Love Tendring app.”
Also discussed at Cabinet today was a draft Tourism Strategy for the district. Covering the next five years, the strategy sets out an ambition to increase the number of jobs associated with the sector, improve the district’s profile, work more with tourism business partners and improve the quality of life of residents by doing so.
Councillor Porter added: “More detail will come in the Delivery Plan which will follow on once the Tourism Strategy is adopted, but it is exciting to see us having a real focus on what is an incredibly important part of our economy.
“One of the key aspects is to recognise the unique nature and selling points of all our towns and villages. We are blessed with unspoilt coastline, family attractions, heritage of international importance, stunning countryside and some of the best events in the country.
“We obviously need to recognise the challenges our businesses face, operating throughout a pandemic, and so one of the key focusses of the first year’s delivery plan will be to provide ‘back to business’ support to re-iginite our economy – such as through these two Spring events.”
The draft strategy was agreed by Cabinet, and will now go out for a six-week consultation.