Exciting year for county says council chief

There’ll be international sporting events, a royal anniversary and some major cultural activities right here in the county. Sports fans will be able to enjoy the return of the Open Golf Championship to Royal Lytham & St Anne’s Golf Club and the three-day visit of the Olympic Torch Relay to the county as it travels around Britain.

The Queen celebrates her Diamond Jubilee in June, which has extra significance here as she is also Duke of Lancaster.

Unique to Lancashire, 2012 will include the Preston Guild and the 400th anniversary of the Pendle Witch Trials.

A dedicated website gives you all you need to know on events happening across the county - www.lancashirein2012.com

During this time, increased visitor numbers will bring new opportunities for business and it’s important to make the most of these events.

The Open Golf Championships alone could attract over 200,000 visitors from across the world and showcase Lancashire internationally. The Open is also broadcast to over 400 million people in 150 countries worldwide.

There are obvious advantages for businesses working in tourism such as hotels, restaurants, cafes and pubs. There’s also potential for other related sectors to get a boost and we are delighted that this year visitors to the golf will be allowed off the course during the day, giving a huge opportunity to local businesses.

As well as tourism, 2012 is going to be a big year for the county council’s own economic development work.

Created less than a year ago, the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership brings together the private and public sector to kick-start economic recovery and drive forward economic growth to put Lancashire on the map as a thriving business centre.

As a board member of the Enterprise Partnership, we will continue working to make the county a business leader in the North West. This includes bringing superfast broadband to the county and supporting the development of the recently awarded Enterprise Zone.

Lancashire has a long and distinguished history of advanced manufacturing, and the sector still employs around 15% of the county’s workforce in high value and skilled jobs. We want to see this important sector growing in the future and The Enterprise Zone will help new businesses in this field.

We know that there are going to be challenges along the way to developing these projects, but we want to put Lancashire’s economy in the best position to meet these challenges and make 2012 a great and memorable year. We hope your business can play its part and enjoy the successes in 2012.

Geoff Driver Leader of Lancashire County Council