Visitors to Great Yarmouth brought nearly half a billion pounds to the local economy last year - boosting the region's tourism sector's pandemic recovery.

A report from Visit Great Yarmouth found that a total of £436,246,744 was contributed to its economy after the destination attracted nearly 5m visits.

In 2021, 9,404 people in the area were employed in jobs related to tourism and hospitality, which represented more than a quarter - 26.9% - of the borough’s total employment that year, according to the report.

Asa Morrison, chief executive of Visit Great Yarmouth, said the Covid restrictions that were in place for the first three months of 2021 meant the report’s results were really based on only nine months, making the signs even more encouraging.

Early indications for this summer show an increase in visitors to the Great Yarmouth area, with data suggesting that 2022 could see the seaside resort climb back to near pre-Covid 2019 levels, he added.

“The first indications we have received about this year’s visitors are encouraging," continued Mr Morrison.

"Businesses are reporting everywhere has been busy. We will be able to build more accurate picture once we receive more data.

“Although businesses are reporting that numbers are slightly up, actual spend is not as strong as in previous years, which is a direct impact of the cost-of-living challenges ahead.

"People have chosen the Great Yarmouth area as a destination but have been careful about their spending amid the prediction of high energy bills and rising prices."

Last year, holidaymakers had rediscovered the UK seaside short break and day trip, with visitor numbers higher during summer and autumn months, as well as people spending more in the destination than pre-Covid in 2019, Mr Morrison said.

Visit Great Yarmouth highlighted continued investment in tourism infrastructure with individual businesses improving their customer experience and the new Marina Centre opening, as contributing to attracting visitors to the borough.

“We have cautious optimism for this year, but we must be realistic about the pressures on people’s finances,” added Mr Morrison.