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Businesses reveal the impact of the record-breaking summer scorch

PUBLISHED: 08:28 06 September 2019 | UPDATED: 08:20 11 September 2019

Back to school: what was the impact of the scorching summer on tourism? Picture: Neil Didsbury

Back to school: what was the impact of the scorching summer on tourism? Picture: Neil Didsbury

Archant

As the summer draws to a close, tourism businesses are hailing a successful holiday season.

Busy Regent Street in Great Yarmouth as people enjoy the summer in the town. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYBusy Regent Street in Great Yarmouth as people enjoy the summer in the town. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Cromer's Amazona Zoo has seen an eight per cent rise on last year with owner Benjie Cabbell Manners saying that this is due to a varied offering.

He said: "Amazona Zoo has been incredibly because we offer a range of educational things to do, such as adventure outside play and indoor soft play there's lots for family fun whatever the weather."

"Cromer Camping has been a sell out, due to the campsite being the only one in central Cromer and staycations still being popular."

Bookings were also up across the border in Suffolk, which saw a rise of 16% between mid-July to the end of August.

(Right) Kit Papworth, director of farm contractors LF Papworth with combine driver Patrick Gwilliam. Picture: Chris Hill(Right) Kit Papworth, director of farm contractors LF Papworth with combine driver Patrick Gwilliam. Picture: Chris Hill

Suffolk Secrets, the largest holiday lettings provider in Suffolk, added that the way people are holidaying is changing.

The company said it is seeing a continuing trend over the past few years of people taking short breaks of less than six days, up 34% on last year.

"The popularity of Suffolk as a holiday destination, for both short breaks and longer holidays continues to grow year on year," says Julian Brackenbury, Suffolk Secrets general manager.

"Bookings are up, we've increased our portfolio by over 130 properties, and the signs for next year are already showing the trend will continue."

Sam Steggles said his summer at Fielding Cottage has been a Sam Steggles said his summer at Fielding Cottage has been a "sell out". Pic; contributed

The most popular spot was on the border, with Southwold seeing a 30% increase in year-on-year bookings.

Elsewhere in the lettings sector demand has continued to rise.

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And owner of Fielding Cottage at Honingham, Sam Steggles, has said diversifying his offering has lead to more repeat customers.

Amazona Zoo has had a blockbuster with season.  Picture: MARK BULLIMOREAmazona Zoo has had a blockbuster with season. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Mr Steggles has added a hot tub to one of his lettings as well as offering cheese making courses.

At his caravan site, Mr Steggles has also expanded the offering by putting on pizza nights.

He said: "Overall we have experienced a very busy summer in our cottages at Honingham and beach side cottage in Bacton. We are in a great location in the heart of Norfolk to explore the county.

"On site we have our goats cheese making courses, fabulous walks and bike rides and it is a perfect rural retreat to relax."

Summer has gone very well for Amazona Zoo. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLYSummer has gone very well for Amazona Zoo. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

He added: "It's all very positive. We were packed out for the recent bank holiday, and our guests give us excellent feedback which results in repeat visits."

However the hot weather has presented some challenges for the agriculture sector.

Arable farmer Kit Papworth, inset left, said: "It is said that farmers are never happy with the weather. As the climate changes, this will be increasingly true and this summer has been no exception."

Mr Papworth, who farms at LF Papworth in Felmingham, added: "For our crops to grow to their maximum potential, we need around 25mm rainfall each week and then sunshine and no wind.

Cromer's Amazona Zoo has seen an 8% rise in visitors.Cromer's Amazona Zoo has seen an 8% rise in visitors.

"We have been lucky in east Norfolk this summer. It has been mostly dry, and when it has rained there hasn't been very much. That has meant that we finished harvest before the August Bank Holiday weekend once again and because of good weather in April and May, crops have yielded well too."

He added that the quality of crops - particularly malting barley and oilseed rape - have also been good.

Farmers have not needed to burn diesel to dry the crops as a result of the heat and wind.

But he added: "The down side is that we are now desperate for some rain. We are struggling to get the crops for harvest next summer to germinate in the dry soil and we are having to irrigate root crops such as sugar beet and potatoes to keep them alive. 25mm of rain now would certainly be welcome."

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