AMBASSADORS from Asia and the Far East have been visiting Southend to learn what the town can offer once the UK leaves the European Union.

Representatives from across the globe responded to an invite from Southend MP Sir David Amess.

The visitors, supported by Southend Council, included ambassadors from Thailand, the Philippines, Taiwan, the Maldives and India.

Businesses have been meeting the representatives including those from the Hive Business Hub, the Jazz Archive and the Pier.

Sir David said: “Countries throughout the world have ambassadors or high commissioners in the United Kingdom.

“They are a rich source of opportunity for the mutual promotion of trade, culture and educational links. Accordingly, over the last 18 months, I have been working with whoever the Mayor of Southend is to invite ambassadors and high commissioners to visit Southend to learn about the town and what it has to offer.

“This has been with a view to not only boosting trade, culture and educational links now, but being mindful of the new opportunities which we will have once we leave the European Union.”

Councillor Ian Gilbert, leader of Southend Council, said: “Regardless of how Brexit pans out, it is important that Southend is able to forge new trade and cultural links internationally, to showcase the many opportunities Southend offers as a business destination and to build upon the strengths of the local economy.

“Organising visits for overseas delegations gives us an opportunity to give a flavour of some of our towns many assets and explore opportunities for future trade and collaboration.

“Whilst the national picture for Brexit remains ever-changing, the ‘YellowHammer’ document released by the government shows that the potential risks are serious.

“It is important that locally we prepare appropriately and that is why we continue to work constructively with partners in the public, private and voluntary sectors across the county, and help residents and businesses access Government information about Brexit.

“Whilst we will continue to prepare where we can as part of the Essex Resilience Forum, there are limits to what we as a single local authority can do. Ultimate responsibility for these risks must rest with central Government.”