Bookings surge for Cromer’s Forest Park as confidence returns to holiday sector

Owners Simon and Deborah Gurney at Forest Park, Cromer.

Owners Simon and Deborah Gurney at Forest Park, Cromer. - Credit: Archant

A north Norfolk holiday park owner has ploughed £130,000 of investment into her business after witnessing a surge in holiday bookings.

Forest Park, on Northrepps Road, Cromer, reported a 41pc rise in bookings this season and a 50pc surge in second home sales over the same period.

It comes as a recent study revealed that the number of jobs dependent on seaside tourism has continued to grow despite the economic downturn.

A study by Sheffield Hallam University revealed that cash-strapped families are holidaying closer to home instead of taking holidays abroad – with resorts benefitting in the eastern region.

According to the report, the number of jobs supported by the seaside tourism in Cromer has risen by 100 between 2006 and 2012.

Meanwhile, Lowestoft has seen jobs grow by 500, while Wells's economy is now supporting another 100 jobs.

Park owner Deborah Gurney said the business is already ahead of its 2013 turnover, reflecting the strength of the wider tourism industry.

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'Speaking to other hoteliers and tourism bodies, I think confidence has returned to our sector and we have certainly noticed a rise in people booking shorter breaks but returning several times a year,' she said.

The 100 acres of woodland is owned by the Gurney family and first opened in 1967 after overgrown heath and woodland was converted into a touring caravan park.

Now it boasts 250 touring caravans, motorhomes and campers, as well as two cottages, a campsite and 500 wooden lodges and holiday homes.

She said the rising trend in holiday homes in the areas has seen 52 touring pitches converted into an area for static caravans and wooden lodges over the past five years.

A £130,000 investment has been made into improving park, which includes the lighting and refurbishing the swimming pool changing rooms, as well as creating a new website.

And Mrs Gurney said the park, which employs 45 people and has had Bellamy Gold Award for Conservation each year since 2001, has more investment on the horizon, with a refurbishment for the clubhouse.

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