New Norfolk tourist guide launched for 2010

Elaine MaslinNorfolk's tourist attractions are banking on 2010 proving to be yet another bumper year as holiday-makers rediscover what the county has to offer, including a trip back to their childhood.Elaine Maslin

Norfolk's tourist attractions are banking on 2010 proving to be yet another bumper year as holiday-makers rediscover what the county has to offer, including a trip back to their childhood.

Speaking at the launch of Norfolk Tourist Attractions' Association's (NTAA) 2010 brochure, chairman Peter Williamson said short break and holiday bookings were already strong for this year.

He said after last year's so-called staycations, with Brits suffering under the recession choosing to holiday in the UK, people had 'rediscovered Norfolk' through a nostalgia for holidays they used to have as youngsters.

With more of the same predicted for this year, the county's attractions are investing in what they have to offer, he said.

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That includes the NTAA printing more than 500,000 of their brochures to promote Norfolk and north Suffolk's attractions, including two new members of the association this year; the Woad Centre near Dereham and the World Horse Welfare, a charity-run centre at Snetterton.

And it is paying off.

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At a recent trade exhibition in London, NTAA director Lydia Smith said their stand was inundated with based coach companies and tour operators wanting more information about Norfolk as a destination.

Mr Williamson said: 'Following on from 2009, which was a very good year for Norfolk tourism as a whole compared to the rest of the country, 2010 could be one of the strongest years for many years.

'Short breaks and holiday break bookings are already very positive compared to this time last year.

'People are rediscovering just how good Norfolk is as a holiday destination.

'The recession made people look back to their childhood holidays and how good Norfolk is.'

The Evening News supports the industry through its Do Different Do Norfolk campaign.

Another boost for the industry was that more people were asking about holidays in spring and autumn, what Mr Williamson called shoulder holidays - a time of year attractions 'crave' to get more visitors, he said.

Norfolk's high profile as a film location and as the set of Dad's Army had helped, he said.

He said some of Norfolk's holiday parks had experienced increased visitor numbers on the previous year, some upwards of 25pc last year, bringing extra numbers in for the county's other attractions.

Merrivale Model Village, which Mr Williamson runs, saw a nine per cent increase, he said.

'Everyone had been so nervous about 2009 but at the end of it everyone had been quite busy and now we are confident about the coming year,' he said.

'And now many are investing in their sites, everyone is spending money again because they are confident in what is coming.'

The association, which has been running for nearly 20 years, has 85 members covering 105 sites across Norfolk.

Their brochures will be distributed to more than 3,400 outlets throughout the East of England.

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