PHILIP Dunne MP has paid tribute to south Shropshire’s Bed and Breakfasts and their role in the economy.

Mr Dunne visited local B&B Whitfield House in Burway Lane in Ludlow to celebrate National B&B week, and to speak to owners Sarah and Andrew, who took over the 1920s house in 2011.

There are over 20,000 B&Bs in the UK, generating over £2 billion annually to the UK economy. An increase in technology has helped owners and customers connect directly, giving a new lease of life to the B&B industry.

Last year the Government announced plans deliver a landmark sector deal for the UK tourism industry to attract more domestic and overseas visitors and help drive major economic growth.

“I am grateful to Sarah and Andrew for hosting me at Whitfield House, to celebrate national B&B week,” said Mr Dunne.

“B&Bs are a very important part of the tourism and hospitality sector within rural areas like south Shropshire, which has so much to offer visitors, with great cycling and walking routes as well as the unique cultural heritage and quality food and drink offer.

“They are going from strength to strength as they are better able to promote themselves online, so I am confident south Shropshire will continue to be a really attractive area to visit.”

Sarah Astbury said that her business was busy.

“It was good to welcome Philip Dunne MP, to raise awareness of National B&B Week,” she said.

“We are at 95 per cent occupancy, which goes to show Ludlow and local B&Bs like ours continue to draw in visitors from the UK and overseas.”

One of the reason for objections to a holiday development in Mortimer Forest was the impact it might have on existing holiday accommodation businesses in the area.