Tuesday, August 26, 2014
The Bank Holiday Monday rain may have felt like the return of an annual tradition, but tourism chiefs are celebrating a successful summer season which has seen more visitors come to the region.
Last month, a number of local attractions said they had seen a big rise in visitor numbers compared to 2013 - and it seems to be a trend that has continued through the height of the summer.
Ian Russell, director at Wroxham Barns, said the Broads-based destination is on course for a record-breaking August.
However, he added: “I would not want to under-estimate how tough the trading conditions are. Customers are looking, quite rightly, for good service and exceptional value. If they find it, they will spend money, but not without considerable endeavour from businesses themselves.
“I think that we can be cautiously optimistic about the reputation and appeal of the Broads and Norfolk as a whole.
“I think Norfolk has done well, relative to other destinations, and I think a good proportion of the people coming here are trying us for the first time. Many people are discovering Norfolk and the Broads and liking what they see.”
Lowestoft-based self-catering accommodation specialists Hoseasons said bookings in the east for the school summer holidays were up 13pc on the same period last year, with short break bookings up 20pc for the year so far.
Managing director Simon Altham said: “More and more people are starting to see the value of taking a UK-based short break.
“Three or four nights away in a luxury woodland lodge is a great alternative to a seven-night foreign holiday for those still feeling the pinch, while those with a bit extra to spend are realising they can enjoy a quality short break closer to home as a top up to their main holiday.”
Pete Waters, brand manager of Visit Norfolk, said: “We’ve had a superb summer season overall in Norfolk, with visitor attractions and accommodation providers saying that guest numbers are up considerably on last year. At least one holiday park has recorded best-ever figures.
“People are leaving their holiday decision-making later and later and, until this weekend, we’ve been very fortunate with the weather so that’s helped drive staycations.”
He stressed the tourism season is still on-going, with more events to come, and added: “We want people to think of Norfolk as a year-round tourism destination.”
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