Norfolk tourism firms expecting a bumper summer
Norfolk tourism businesses say they are expecting a bumper summer as the early heatwave makes visitors "more confident" about booking getaways.
The warm weather the country has enjoyed since early May has come as a welcome relief for accommodation and activity providers after a prolonged winter and wet Easter, with the upbeat mood firmly on display at the Royal Norfolk Show.
Lucy Downing, brand manager at Norfolk Country Cottages, said bookings for the holiday lettings firm so far in 2018 were up more than 40% compared with the same point in 2017, with bookings in May alone up 27% year-on-year.
“In the second quarter we have been significantly up on last year, which was our best year ever,” she said. “We had a really long winter but the past three months have been phenomenal.”
She added that the company had seen increases in short breaks and also bookings for larger groups.
Cottages.com, a self-catering accommodation provider under the same ownership as Hoseasons, was scouting for new property owners at the show.
East Anglia area manager Victoria Schofield said: “Luxury properties book really well in this area, and it has been a fantastic year for that. People are really excited about the holiday let industry in Norfolk and are investing.”
Ms Schofield expects the World Cup to have an impact on bookings as well as the weather. “May was a great month for us and summer is looking really buoyant,” she said.
Mark Hume, holiday home sales manager at Park Dean Resorts, which owns California Cliffs holiday park in Scratby, said the group had seen record bookings and sales of caravans in the first half of 2018.
“We’ve found that people are investing quite a bit more. The lifestyle tied to it, meaning they can get away with their family whenever they want, is attracting more interest, and our average selling price has gone up by around £5,000,” he said.
Annie Hamilton of yacht hire firm Eastwood Whelpton said interest in sailing on the Broads was booming. A busy Norfolk Show followed a successful first Broads Sailing Festival in Ludham on June 24, organised by her firm and four others, when more than 20 people had sailing taster sessions and several signed up for training courses.
“A lot of local people are looking to try sailing for the first time,” Mrs Hamilton said.
She added: “Our bookings are a little bit up on last year, but the end of the season is not here yet. Keeping it going through the summer is key for us.”