The region’s holiday industry received a boost as bosses at Center Parcs celebrated its best summer on record.

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With summer seeming a long way off in the current winter chill, the short break provider said that it had already seen a surge in bookings this year taking an average of one booking a minute so far in January.

The company said that last summer it had a 96.8pc occupancy rate at its centres, which includes Elveden Park, near Thetford which it said proved that families still valued short breaks in the UK.

Announcing the figures Center Parcs said that it had an average occupancy rate of 97pc, while 79pc of bookings were carried out online – an increase of 7pc on 2011.

The last year also saw it re-invest £41m back into the business

This included the opening of a new £4m Tropical Cyclone ride at Elveden.

The ride, which is 18m tall – the height of an English oak tree – can carry up to 720 rafters per hour, or 12 per minute, and propel them at speeds of up to 30mph on a specially designed clover-shaped raft.

And bosses are confident it will add to the appeal of the holiday attraction.

Sales and marketing director, Colin Whaley said: “We are delighted with the level of bookings we have taken in January so far. Our popularity continues to grow thanks to our commitment to continually investing in all four villages such as the recent launch of a new £4m Tropical Cyclone family water ride at Elveden Forest.

“We have also started the construction of lodges and leisure facilities at our fifth village, Woburn Forest, which is scheduled to open in spring next year, giving our guests even more choice when booking a short break.”

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