Norwich hotel visitor numbers fall

Elaine MaslinA survey of Norfolk's hoteliers has revealed a dip in trade in March despite a rise in the rest of the UK.Elaine Maslin

A survey of Norfolk's hoteliers has revealed a dip in trade in March despite a rise in the rest of the UK.

Room occupancy was up 6.1pc to 67.4pc, compared to the same time last year in regional UK, but the average room rate for regional hotels continued to suffer, dropping 6.1pc to �61.57.

In the Norwich area, room occupancy was down 3.7pc to 58.4pc, one of the lowest figures in the country.

Average achieved room rate was down 2.6pc to �63.50 and rooms yield was down 6.2pc to �37.08.

However, accountants and business advisers PKF, who carried out the survey, said that, in spite of the figures, there was still an upbeat feeling among many that the growing 'staycation' culture would boost their summer trade.

'The disruption to air travel because of the volcano, the continuing high cost of holidaying abroad, and the troubles in places like Greece are clearly making more people think about holidaying nearer home,' said Michael Muskett, PKF's senior partner.

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'The county's hotel occupancy rates were among the lowest in the country in March, but I think that may relate more to Norwich where there is a high level of hotels. Away from the city, the picture remains an optimistic one and the volcanic ash seems to have had only a swings and roundabouts impact on business trade.'

'The ash did mean we lost some business from people working offshore or travelling from Aberdeen,' said Paul Garrod, at Great Yarmouth's Furzedown Hotel.

'But many turned up later so it was only short-term. I think the whole experience and problems with the Euro will put more people off holidays abroad and we are expecting a good summer.'

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