An action plan to boost tourism across the district is being put together by Braintree Council.

The council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee appointed a task and finish group of councillors to work with organisations including Visit Essex and Witham Town Council on creating a strategy to increase tourism revenue and visitor numbers.

According to the group’s report, tourism was worth £179 million to the district in 2015, equivalent to seven per cent of the total economy, however the area is lagging behind the nearby Maldon, Colchester, and Tendring districts.

Tom Cunningham, councillor responsible for economic development, said: "The District is rich in culture and heritage and has a wealth of visitor attractions such as Cressing Temple Barns, Hedingham Castle, Colne Valley Railway to name a few.

"The three market towns offer a mix of national and independent shops as well as Freeport Designer Village, providing a range of shopping opportunities.

"We have beautiful countryside and there are some fantastic places to eat and drink."

Amongst the proposals to increase the figure is to create a dedicated tourist website showing off what is on offer.

Further marketing opportunities are set to be explored, whilst the council will continue to promote its Grape and Grain Trail, which promotes artisan, independent producers of ales, spirits and wines and is being run in conjunction with Maldon District Council.

According to the report, the council will consider replicating this idea for other themes, such as culture and heritage.

Mr Cunningham said: "We want to build on this and the task and finish group looked at the Councils role in tourism and offered suggestions on how we can attract more visitors to the district.

"Our ultimate aim is to bring more jobs to the area and strengthen the local economy.”

Potentially extra staff and resources could be used to harness the district’s tourist potential in conjunction with a drive to bring in and promote accommodation within the area is set to take place, with 3.3 million of the 3.5 million trips to the district in 2015 being day trips.

The report will be considered by full council in April, who will then decide whether to proceeds with the plans.