‘The next six weeks are critical’ - Broads businesses pin hopes on ‘staycation summer’

PUBLISHED: 13:59 18 July 2020 | UPDATED: 14:20 18 July 2020

Wroxham business owner Malcolm Grey. Picture: Simon Parkin

Wroxham business owner Malcolm Grey. Picture: Simon Parkin


Businesses in the Broads tourist hot spot of Wroxham are hoping for a summer boom in trade as more people choose to holiday locally.

Tourism bosses say Norfolk and Waveney could be set to benefit from the “ultimate staycation year” with visitors choosing to holiday closer to home rather than jetting off on holidays overseas.

Families preferring to holiday in the UK and to spend the summer holidays day tripping locally could help tourist dependent business beleaguered after losing months of trade to the coronavirus lockdown.

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Malcolm Grey, who owns a string of tourism dependent businesses in the town, including cafes, restaurants, a fish and chip shop and ice cream parlour, said the next six week were critical.

Jason and Tia Slack with children Abigail and Lucas in Wroxham. Picture: Simon ParkinJason and Tia Slack with children Abigail and Lucas in Wroxham. Picture: Simon Parkin

He said: “People are not going aboard and are preferring to stop in England so with the schools breaking up we are hoping it will be much busier. But that’s really the next six weeks and it is dependent on the weather too.

“It looks busy but the queues outside the fish and chip shop is because it is one in, one out and we are taking much less than normal. I also own two restaurants and trade is still way down because people are still too scared.

“It’s been such a funny year and we have lost a lot of time, business is probably half what we would expect and we won’t know until the end of the year how much of that we will be able to make up.”

Busy high street in Wroxham but businesses say trade is half of normal. Picture: Simon ParkinBusy high street in Wroxham but businesses say trade is half of normal. Picture: Simon Parkin

Louise Phillippo, from fashion boutique Identity, said: “We reopened last weekend and it was really busy. We have seen visitors who we have never seen before and regulars returning. It has been very different with new ways of doing things.

“Our customers are a mix of people visiting Wroxham and locals, so we are really reliant on the summer months.

“However coach trips are still not coming with daytrippers so we are down in terms of numbers but with the school holidays we hope more people will visit.”

Janet and Bob Munnings enjoying a day in Wroxham. Picture: Simon ParkinJanet and Bob Munnings enjoying a day in Wroxham. Picture: Simon Parkin

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Among the local visitors was Jason and Tia Slack, from Hethersett, were enjoying the sunshine beside the river with children Abigail, four, and Lucas, two.

Mr Slack said: “We have come for a day trip. We are avoiding going any further afield than Norfolk really.”

Visitors and boaters in Wroxham. Picture: Simon ParkinVisitors and boaters in Wroxham. Picture: Simon Parkin

Mrs Slack is originally from Thailand and the family may have visited this year but for the lockdown restrictions.

She said: “We love to travel generally but we are just avoiding exploring further afield. I think other people are too.”

Mr Slack added: “There is lots to do in Norfolk. Places like this are just as nice for the children. They love feeding the ducks.”

MORE: Nine reasons to enjoy a staycation in Norfolk

Janet and Bob Munnings, from Ipswich, were also enjoying a day in Wroxham.

Mrs Munnings said: “We are staying more local just because we don’t feel safe to travel further afield. We have a static caravan at Forest Park near Cromer, so we like spending time in the region anyway, it’s lovely and there is lots to see and do.

“But I don’t think many people are going long distances for holidays. Family and friends have been telling us they are not travelling far or going overseas either because they have concerns about how safe it is.

“We have a coach trip to Ireland booked for October but we are probably going to cancel that because we just don’t think it will be possible, we will probably go in the New Year instead.”

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