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Luxury and long weekend breaks attracting more and more young holidaymakers to the region

PUBLISHED: 08:36 30 November 2016 | UPDATED: 08:39 30 November 2016

The High Street in Southwold on a busy summers day in August.

Picture: James Bass

The High Street in Southwold on a busy summers day in August. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2016

Investment in luxury accommodation, no hassle travel and a move towards short breaks is fuelling a steep rise in the number of young people holidaying in the region.

Simon Altham, managing director of Hoseasons, headshot. Picture: HoseasonsSimon Altham, managing director of Hoseasons, headshot. Picture: Hoseasons

Holiday firms have reported a significant jump in the number of 18 to 35-year-olds taking breaks locally over the last year.

Norfolk Country Cottages says the number has almost doubled in 12 months, up from 5.2% of total bookings in 2015 to 10.6% this year. Bosses say the number of visitors aged 50 and above has also dropped.

Heather McCraith, general manager, said the firm had updated its website and revamped its branding to capture a younger audience.

“We have been trying to increase that market,” she said, “and the rise in 18 to 35-year-olds is being maintained in our 2017 bookings, which shows it is not just something we have seen this year.

“I think it’s a combination of people not wanting to go abroad, the hassle of flying and so on, and the high-quality properties that we have on offer. Our main booking post-

codes are within two hours of Norfolk, so it’s clear that people like the short drive and the simplicity of that.”

Lowestoft-based holiday firm Hoseasons, which has lodges, parks and boats all over the country, has also seen online searches by 18 to 35-year-olds jump by 38% in a year.

Simon Altham, managing director of Hoseasons, said: “As an audience they have the disposable income to travel, without the ties of mortgages or extended families and they are constantly on the look-out for last-minute deals.

“A UK short break offers great last-minute flexibility.”

He said the “significant makeover” in accommodation, food and drink has made Britain a “more fashionable place” to enjoy a getaway in general.

“With Norfolk leading the way in investment it is no wonder it has capitalised on this trend,” he added.

The trend was echoed by James Knight, who owns Waveney River Centre at Burgh St Peter.

He said: “We don’t record the ages of our visitors but we are seeing more young couples in their mid-20s to mid-30s visiting for short breaks.

“It’s partly because generally, as we know, people are staying at home to holiday – but the number of short breaks is rising.

“Young people are always going to be at the front of trends, and if people have always holidayed for a week or a fortnight, that’s likely to be what they will continue to do.”

He said, while it appealed to most visitors, luxury additions to increasingly popular upmarket lodges, including hot tubs and high-speed wifi, were attracting a younger audience in particular.

• Are you noticing a changing trend in your tourism business? Email lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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