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Bumper bank holiday weekend expected for tourism businesses

PUBLISHED: 06:16 25 August 2017 | UPDATED: 06:16 25 August 2017

People enjoying Sea Palling beach. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

People enjoying Sea Palling beach. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

The pound is at an eight-year low against the Euro, while delays at airports are soaring.

Chris and Margaret Smith next to the statue of Estimate at Sandringham House. Picture: Ian BurtChris and Margaret Smith next to the statue of Estimate at Sandringham House. Picture: Ian Burt

Doom and gloom? Not in East Anglia, which is bracing itself to harvest the windfall - a surge in visitors opting for a break closer to home.

Hopes of a bumper bank holiday weekend are backed up by a survey showing that nearly 7m Brits are planning a local overnight holiday trip this weekend.

It is estimated increased “staycations” will boost the UK economy by £1.7bn.

Visit East Anglia chief executive Pete Waters said the news boded well for local tourism businesses. “Children will be going back to school soon and this is one of the last opportunities for families to spend time together. I’m sure the region will be very busy.”

Fergus Bootman and Linda Robey, the owners of Whitlingham Broad Campsite. Picture: Andrew StoneFergus Bootman and Linda Robey, the owners of Whitlingham Broad Campsite. Picture: Andrew Stone

He said the pound’s slump had played a role in attracting foreign visitors and keeping locals home.

“I was at Sandringham recently and it was full of German visitors. It’s a win-win situation for everyone at the moment. We’re getting a lot of overseas visitors as it’s more affordable while more people are choosing to holiday locally as it’s cheaper.”

The survey by VisitEngland shows an increase on last year when 5.1m people planned to take a local overnight holiday.

Visit Norwich head of tourism Nick Bond said based on the available evidence, the city could expect an “uplift” in tourism at the weekend. “The summer started well weather-wise and while we went through a rough patch, the forecast for the weekend is looking good and we expect people will make the most of it and get out in Norwich and Norfolk.”

Herbert Woods marketing director Amanda Walker. Picture: Archant LibraryHerbert Woods marketing director Amanda Walker. Picture: Archant Library

Whitlingham Broad Campsite owner Fergus Bootman said they had been booked out more than two months ago. “We were also fully booked last year but filled up sooner this time around. We’ve also noticed that people are staying a bit longer.”

Amanda Walker, marketing director for Herbert Woods, said: “We have over 90 cruisers going out this weekend and our picnic boats are fully booked from Friday through to bank holiday Monday.”

Benjie Cabbell-Manners, owner of Amazona Zoo in Cromer, said they were expecting over 600 visitors this bank holiday weekend while Cow Shed owner Tom Rowson said the glamping unit at Fritton Lakes was booked out.

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