Norfolk tourist attractions defend ticket prices in face of criticism over value
PUBLISHED: 13:00 25 August 2018 | UPDATED: 19:07 25 August 2018
Tourist attractions in Norfolk have defended their ticket prices after questions were raised over the value for money of their offerings.
Readers have written to the EDP to express their concern that a day out at the region’s zoos and parks is getting too expensive, with one claiming it had cost them more than £100 for a family trip.
But many attractions say they have not raised their prices for several years, swallowing cost increases to protect their customers’ wallets.
Martin Dupée, director of operations at Banham Zoo and Africa Alive, said ticket prices were higher in the summer to reflect the zoos’ longer opening hours and the extra entertainment and activities they put on.
He said: “We have not lifted our prices for three years. We realise we are not a cheap day out but the cost of running a zoo is rising phenomenally.”
He added that revamped annual passes for the zoos, launched around nine months ago, have proved popular, with a 54% year-on-year increase in pass sales.
Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure in Lenwade also offers season tickets, an “extremely popular” option according to manager Adam Goymour.
He said for businesses in tourism – an industry “based on visitors’ spend” – providing a good day out at an acceptable price was paramount.
“We are a family owned park and profits earned are re-invested,” he said. “We have invested over £4.7m on major investments since 2011, which doesn’t cover all investment to further supply great attractions for our guests.
“We are extremely conscious of charging appropriate admission prices and are currently having surveys conducted by a professional company to assist in setting appropriate charges for 2019.”
Mark Noble, operations director at Pensthorpe Natural Park near Fakenham, said the park annually benchmarks itself against other attractions in the area to ensure its prices are in-keeping with the average.
“We have held our prices for the past two years and are likely to hold them again in 2019 as we appreciate that a day out can be quite expensive and there is a finite amount of money that people can spend, so we have held them even though we have had price rises from suppliers and inflation.
“We have absorbed that because of the nature of our business, to expose children to the wonders of nature and the outdoors and we don’t want to place restrictions on that.”
Benjie Cabbell Manners, owner of Amazona Zoo in Cromer says: “Our pricing policy is geared towards prioritizing our local customers who love visiting our Zoo and have been so supportive. We haven’t increased our prices for four years.
“We run a very successful and good value for money membership scheme which means we can keep our prices reasonable for tourists while allowing our locals to visit all year around.”