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Norfolk tourism businesses in confident mood ahead of Easter holidays

PUBLISHED: 11:10 17 March 2018 | UPDATED: 11:10 17 March 2018

Herbert Woods is investing £350,000 in building five new picnic boats. Picture: HERBERT WOODS

Herbert Woods is investing £350,000 in building five new picnic boats. Picture: HERBERT WOODS

Archant

More than three quarters of Norfolk tourism businesses are satisfied with their performance so far this year, a survey has revealed.

Pete Waters of Visit Norfolk. Picture: Matthew Usher.Pete Waters of Visit Norfolk. Picture: Matthew Usher.

A third have already reported an increase in visitor numbers, which falls in line with forecasts as more British people look to holiday locally this year.

In addition, 75pc of respondents who took part in the Tourism Business Confidence Monitor survey said they were positive about prospects for Easter.

Pete Waters of Visit Norfolk said while the results from the survey were “generally positive” they also reflected some uncertainty in the sector as the countdown to Brexit continued.

He said: “A flexible labour market is vital to tourism, and the visitor economy needs some reassurance about this.

Banham Zoo. The new Sea Lion Bay.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYBanham Zoo. The new Sea Lion Bay. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

“We’re already seeing tourism businesses in London struggling to fill vacancies because of workers leaving the country and, as we move into the busier months, that will potentially impact on our region as well.”

Mr Waters said tourism had benefited from the weaker pound in terms of increasing overseas visitor numbers.

“So, as we edge towards the EU exit we must convince our continental friends that they’ll still receive a warm welcome.

“There’s a huge PR and marketing exercise to be done.”

Roarr Dinosaur Adventure has had lots of new investment enabling them to build, renovate and create new attractions.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018Roarr Dinosaur Adventure has had lots of new investment enabling them to build, renovate and create new attractions. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

Since 2012 Norfolk’s visitor economy has grown by 14pc to £3.15bn in 2016, while Suffolk’s has grown just 6pc to £1.9bn.

“In that time England’s tourism sector grew 8pc,” said Mr Waters. “Norfolk is doing incredibly well, and we’re seeing huge amounts of investment going into venues, particularly weather-proofing, but we don’t want that progress to stall because of elements outside our control.”

A number of tourism businesses in Norfolk have recently invested heavily in attractions and infrastructure.

Banham Zoo has spent £600,000 on a new sea lion enclosure and Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure in Lenwade is also going through a huge revamp process, which has included a recent name change, in order to develop and appeal to families of all age ranges.

Broads hire boat company Herbert Woods based in Potter Heigham also recently announced a £350,000 investment into building five new day boats in time for the holiday season as it anticipates a rise in visitor numbers.

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