The Easter holidays traditionally signal the start of the key holiday season for the region's tourism industry. 

Accommodation becomes fully booked, restaurants increase their opening times and attractions reopen. 

Although the chilly weather may have dampened hopes that this year's spring break will see an influx of visitors, tourism bosses are still optimistic that 2023 will see a continued post-pandemic recovery. 

And there is no doubt that Covid has hit the industry hard. 

Data released by Visit East of England at the end of last year show that although Norfolk and Suffolk's visitor economies bounced back in 2021 from the height of the pandemic, they were still a third down on 2019's record figures. 

According to the group, Norfolk's 2021 tourism value was worth £2.3bn, up 54pc on 2020 but 32pc below 2019. 

Suffolk's 2021 tourism value was worth £1.4bn in 2021, up 59pc on 2020 but 35pc down on 2019.


Easter boost 

Despite the challenges, there is hope that the industry is heading back to pre-pandemic levels. 

Paul Evans, from holiday accommodation firm Hoseasons, said: “Increasingly more families are deciding to take a great British staycation this Easter compared to previous years with 41pc more bookings for accommodation sleeping four or more, when compared to bookings for the same time frame pre-pandemic in 2019.

Eastern Daily Press: Paul Evans from HoseasonsPaul Evans from Hoseasons (Image: Hoseasons)

"Plus, it seems that pet-friendly breaks are also on the rise with 38pc more pet holidays being booked this year compared to 2019. It seems that the nation is lapping up the chance to get away with their four-legged friends.” 

Asa Morrison, chief executive of Visit Great Yarmouth, is also hopeful that the coming weeks will see a boost to the industry. 

He said: “As the seafront opens this weekend there is optimism.

"Effects of the clocks going forward giving longer days makes a big difference psychologically.

"When there is still light in the sky come 8pm, it impacts on visitor numbers with more people out and about.”

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Tom Bell, from, explained that with "90 miles of coastline and many other waterways including the Broads and other riverside locations" Norfolk is in a prime position to attract holidaymakers looking for an Easter break. 

Eastern Daily Press: Tom Bell from cottages.comTom Bell from (Image:

He added: "Since the pandemic, the region’s love-affair with wild sea swimming, river kayaking and paddle boarding has risen to dizzy heights, and this new-found cultural shift is clearly here to stay.”


Cost of living crisis 

While the outlook is bright, the cost of living crisis could dampen the industry's 2023 season. 

Philip Turner, founder and CEO of Chestnut, which owns inns, pubs and restaurants across East Anglia, said that "the current economic climate will impact people's holiday decisions". 

Eastern Daily Press: Philip Turner, founder and CEO ChestnutPhilip Turner, founder and CEO Chestnut (Image: Chestnut)

He added: "Our strategy has been to ensure we are offering great value and collaborating with local partners to widen opportunities for guests, including walks in areas of outstanding natural beauty, festivals, race days and visitor attractions."

Pete Waters, from Visit East of England, also highlighted the cost of living as having "pressures on family budgets" but he said that "it seems people don't want to forsake their much-prized holiday". 

Mr Morrison from Visit Great Yarmouth, however, is hopeful that the pressures on family finances will encourage more holidaymakers to choose the seaside town as a budget-friendly option. 

Research carried out by Hoseasons has named it among the best coastal destinations for those on a budget. 

“To be recognised as affordable getaways is very important at a time when everyone is feeling the squeeze," said Mr Morrison. 

"To be identified as top locations for short breaks under £400 for a family of four for three and four night stays over Easter can only be positive.

“We all hope for good weather at Easter.

"If the weather is not on our side there are plenty of indoor activities along the seafront.”