Suffolk’s visitor economy will play a key role to net zero

25 May, 2023

A new report placing the visitor economy at the heart of Suffolk’s ‘carbon neutrality’ ambition has been published today.

The Suffolk Visitor Economy Carbon Net Zero Assessment & Impact study produced by Small World Consulting, sets out the compelling evidence base around the scale of the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) footprint of the sector, and the current projections for decarbonising the sector. The study, commissioned by Suffolk Growth, estimates the Suffolk visitor economy Green House Gas (GHG) footprint as a whole to be 1,98 million tonnes of CO2e emissions per year based on 2019 data. This includes the embedded footprint of all goods and services consumed by visitors in addition to their travel emissions, which is referred to as a consumption-based footprint. These visitor economy-related emissions represented 20.2% of the estimated Suffolk residents’ total consumption-based carbon footprint in 2019. The emissions for the sector are dominated by car travel, goods and services including accommodation, attractions, hospitality and retail, and food and drink consumed. The report outlines a range of actions for partners across these areas to decarbonise transport, decarbonise buildings, and reduce emissions associated with consumption and waste.

Responding to the report findings Suffolk Growth’s Strategic Lead for the visitor economy, Richard Hunt, commented:

“ This report is a call to action to accelerate towards a low carbon, and sustainable visitor economy, grasping the opportunities of the “green economy” for efficiency, resilience and sector business growth. The sector is adept at understanding changing customer needs and expectations for visitor experiences and working collaboratively will be key. ” Suffolk Growth is working to support the Suffolk Climate Change Energy and Environment Board, local authorities, key partners and businesses to develop a sector plan to engage and support the visitor economy.

Earlier this week visitor economy businesses were invited to participate in the Visitor Economy Carbon Charter Pathfinder.

Download or view the Suffolk Visitor Economy Carbon Net Zero assessment & impact study.

For more information on Suffolk Growth’s programme and the Pathfinder project, please contact

front cover of suffolk visitor economy carbon net zero assessment and impact study

Download the report


Suffolk’s visitor economy is made up of over 3,400 businesses, ranging from accommodation, travel, visitor attractions, retail, hospitality, leisure, and cultural sectors.

The visitor economy in Suffolk is set to recover to a pre-pandemic economic value of £2.1 billion by the end of 2024 in nominal terms. At 11.5% of the estimated total size of the Suffolk economy, the visitor economy is set to grow further in line with Government tourism projections and policies.

The ‘Suffolk Visitor Economy Carbon Net Zero Assessment & Impact study’ highlighting the carbon footprint of Suffolk’s visitor economy and pathways to decarbonise, is available on

The Carbon Charter Pathfinder project is closely aligned to the “25 by 25” campaign for Suffolk business engagement in the net zero ambition. 25 by 25: Suffolk’s Challenge to Businesses to Tackle the Climate Emergency – Green Suffolk

Suffolk Growth Partnership brings together public sector organisations and key partners to align and promote countywide economic growth objectives as part of a single, ambitious strategic vision.  We work across Suffolk and the wider region, engaging with a range of stakeholders to drive positive change through shared activity, delivery, and promotion.