'Some days were too hot' - tourism businesses' mixed summer fortunes
PUBLISHED: 17:25 19 September 2018 | UPDATED: 17:25 19 September 2018
Archant Norfolk © 2015
The long hot summer is behind us leaving memories of glorious beach days, sunny barbecues, flip flops, and ice creams. But how was it for our holiday attractions? Liz Coates spoke to tourism businesses to see if the hot weather delivered an equally blazing business boost.
As suntans fade and bikinis are packed away for another year the area’s zoos, funfairs and hotels are reflecting on the long hot summer and revealing just how much money it put in their pockets.
Officially the hottest summer since 1910 people could stroll along Great Yarmouth’s seafront in shorts and flowing summer dresses with 2018 likely to remembered with a warm nostalgic glow.
Families played on the beaches, enjoyed the outdoor parks and the towns and resorts seemed busy with fun-seekers.
But were they spending any money?
For some businesses keen to compensate for the poor Easter it was just too hot with too many people staying at home enjoying their gardens and paddling pools.
Others however reported a bumper year, albeit with the proviso that their own staff suffered in the heatwave especially those hunkered down in steamy kitchens.
Albert Jones, Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach owner, said: “We have been delighted with the attendances.
“The problem we had going in to the six week holiday was that we had such a poor start at Easter so we have been playing catch up.
“But with the lovely weather we have had it has certainly been a massive boost.
“If I dare say it it has been too hot some days because people have gone to the beach, but we are not complaining.
“There have been some days when we have had to hand out bottles of water and give the staff extra breaks.
“It is just a shame we had the rain on the Sunday of the bank holiday weekend when we actually closed early, and on the Wednesday we had rain until 3pm.
“We have been delighted with the attendance and feedback about the place.
“Hopefully we have had a lot of happy customers and the sun always puts a smile on people’s faces.”
Paul Garrod at the Furzedown Hotel, said the early part of the summer was better. He said: “It has been a good year. Obviously it has been too hot some days while we are working and other people are enjoying themselves.
“It has been hard in the heat, especially in the kitchen, but the most important thing is that people came to Great Yarmouth and enjoyed the sunshine and that will stand us in good stead because people are happier in the sunshine.
“June and July were very very good four us. August was average and I think for some people it was too hot. People have barbecues at home and enjoy being in their own local surroundings.
“A lot of people found it was too hot and too hot to travel.
“August was nothing out of the ordinary but we look forward to a good September and October. We have the busy race week and the Maritime Festival and all these events are good for the town.
“I think everyone has had an exceptional year this year.”
But for Frances Newsome at Merrivale Model Village, the hot weather meant people made a beeline for the beach: “We weren’t as busy as last year. It was too hot and people stayed on the beach. Some places have been down 25pc. People have just been staying at home and having a barbecue.
“Don’t get me wrong, we would rather have the sun than the rain but it was just too hot. If it’s a bit cloudy it stops people going on to the beach where it is a cheaper day for them and people really are counting their pennies.
“If I had had an ice cream shop I think I would have been smiling.”
Away from the Golden Mile Richard Hirst at Hirsty’s Fun Park in Hemsby said he had sold more summer season tickets than in previous years but overall the heatwave was not helpful.
He said: “It has been alright but it has not broken any records. We only open for six weeks so for the first three weeks it was really hot and a lot of people were going past heading to the beach. Since the weather has cooled down a bit we have been very pleased.”
Scott Bird, zoological director at Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens said: “Overall we have had a good summer ending up being just ahead of last year. The hot weather helped with lots of drinks and ice-cream sales.”