December 11 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
As families swarmed to beaches around the coast, inland thousands were enjoying the Aylsham Show and the Broads’ waterways were busy with nearly every dayboat hired out.
Temperatures yesterday reached 24C in many parts of Norfolk and Suffolk and Chris Bell, a forecaster at the UEA-based Weatherquest service said this summer had become “pretty much as good as it gets in our area”.
Three of the region’s biggest attractions - Banham Zoo, Africa Alive and Dinosaur Adventure - reported “phenomenally good” visitor numbers on both Sunday and yesterday and are now heading for a bumper year overall.
The parks’ operations director, Martin Dupee, said: “This bank holiday we have seen some of our best figures for a long, long time.”
Banham Zoo alone attracted more than 3,000 visitors yesterday as numbers continued to be boosted by tiger cub fever.
Mr Dupee said: “We are heading for a record year at Dinosaur Adventure with more than 200,000 visitors now being projected and, following lean years, both zoos are back well up to where they should be.”
As chairman of Norfolk Tourist Attractions Association, he said a lot of other businesses were reporting a good season.
“On the whole, people are going to say, ‘that’s been a very good year, give us another one,’” he said.
Albert Jones, owner of Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach, reported very good visitor numbers over the whole bank holiday - including the wet Saturday - and said after a miserable Easter and cold May they were now looking likely to beat last year’s figures.
Further down the East coast in Lowestoft, Alexis Camelin, director of Pleasurewood Hills theme park, said they had enjoyed “phenomenal success” during August after a quiet July and were already ahead of last season in terms of visitor numbers and profits with more than a month to go to the end of their financial year on September 30.
The mood was equally buoyant in the west of the county where Hunstanton was crowded with bank holiday trippers.
William Searle, whose company Searle’s Sea Tours organises tours of the Wash on an amphibious craft the Wash Monster, said: “It’s been very busy throughout the weekend; there are lots of people. We’ve had full loads for every trip. The summer has been huge all the way through. The really good weather always helps.
“The cold weather up until around May had us well behind but the fine weather has caught us up now. We’ve had 13,000 people so far this year.”
Simon Egan, a director at Bewilderwood, in Horning, one of the region’s newest attractions, said the bank holiday weekend had seen the treehouse adventure park packed with families and the consistent summer weather had brought solid visitor numbers with it.
He said: “If you exclude the cold spring our visitor numbers are ahead of last year and, encouragingly for the economy, our retail and catering spend have reached a record high - 25pc up on last summer.”
Barbara Greasley, a director of Norfolk Broads Direct and Broads Tours, which provide boat hire and boat trips from Wroxham, said they were rushed off their feet yesterday.
“At 11am people were queueing to book day boats when the next available one was not going to be ready until 3.30pm,” she said.
The glorious summer meant their business was now ahead of last season in terms of day boats and trips, but the cold start to the year meant holiday cruiser bookings were still likely to be 10pc down at the end of the summer.
Paul Richardson, a director of Stalham-based Richardsons, reported a similar story of their Broads boat hire picking up with the improvement in the weather - and said day boats were booked out over the bank holiday.
David Thompson, head of Visit North Norfolk Coast and Countryside said: “Visitor numbers have been fairly high as many people took the chance to grab a late bank holiday break. The resorts of Hunstanton, Wells, Sheringham, Cromer and the east coast beaches of Mundesley and Sea Palling were busy and, overall, our attractions and accommodation seem to have enjoyed a really good bank holiday.”
Hetti Simpson, owner of Norfolk Hideaways, said: “The bank holiday is slightly earlier this year and this combined with the stunning weather has made it even more popular. We have seen a 26 per cent increase in bookings for the bank holiday week and have been inundated with calls from people looking for last minute cottage breaks. Unfortunately, since we are 99 per cent booked, we have had to turn almost everyone away.”
Martin Torrens, at Virginia Court Hotel in Cromer, said: “It has been a very busy bank holiday weekend here in Cromer with it following on from this year’s ever popular Cromer Carnival week. Personally it has been our best bank holiday weekend since we opened five years ago, with our restaurant being much busier.”
Weatherquest’s Chris Bell said above average temperatures and sunshine would continue throughout the week.
He said: “By the weekend there could be a more northerly air stream, lowering temperatures to 17C, but the sunny weather could continue into next week.”
Don’t miss the chance to nominate your tourism champions in this year’s EDP Visit Norfolk Tourism Awards.
With the deadline for entries extended until Saturday September 7, now is the time to get your nominations in for this year’s awards, sponsored by Hoseasons.
Norfolk boasts a wealth of tourism destinations to be proud of - from fun with the family in Sea Palling to boat trips on the broads and country pub lunches, the choice is endless.
We want you to nominate the places, businesses and individuals responsible for putting our wonderful county on the map.
EDP editor Nigel Pickover said: “We have a fabulous tourism offering in our region and the EDP is proud to again sponsor the Norfolk Tourism Awards which put a deserved spotlight on the businesses, events and individuals that make the industry great.
“Our awards recognise every aspect of our tourism experience: from the best independent hotels and visitor attractions to the finest self-catering establishments.”
Nominations for the awards are accepted either on behalf of a business or as a self nomination and can all be submitted on our website. For full details of categories and entry criteria, visit www.norfolk.tourismawards.co.uk
So while the sun is shining, and the summer holidays are still in full flow, get your entries in – and help to put a spotlight on those Norfolk tourism businesses that deserve it.