Norfolk’s tourism bosses hoping for a bumper Easter holiday weekend
Heads of some of the main tourist attractions in the region are hoping for a welcome boost from the weather with temperatures forecast to reach up to 21 degrees this weekend.
Along with the better weather, it's also hoped the delay in Brexit may lure more folk out than usual for the bank holiday.
Up to now, many people have been safeguarding their spending amid political uncertainty.
Now, more people are also booking holidays abroad and more inclined to spend at home too.For many venues, this weekend will be crucial for takings especially after investment in new attractions, giving an indication of whether the public are feeling the pinch of Brexit or not.
Adam Goymour, company director at Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure, Lenwade, said: 'Visitor numbers are now starting to build as per our expecations, they are currently slightly down on last year however we expect things to level out by the end of the Easter holidays.'
He said 'Dippy-Ville,' the new attraction for younger children along with online tickets, the re-opening of the Predator High Ropes for the main season and various Easter themed events were helping put them right on track.
At Pensthorpe Natural Park, Fakenham, a spokesperson confirmed that visitor numbers were 8% up for the first week of the Easter holidays compared to last year. The cafe was also up by 8% for the same week with only the gift shop 'a little bit behind'. 'Pensthorpe, is, however, showing overall signs of growth so far again this year. With the current figures we are certain that visitors are making the most of their days out.'
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David Field, CEO at the Zoological Society of East Anglia, in charge of Banham Zoo and Africa Alive! agreed that people were being more selective in their spend. New additions to these attractions include, at Africa Alive! a new display of red river hogs called 'Hogsnort'.
'So far, so good, people are being understandably more careful about their choices, they are responding to good value, so we didn't put our prices up this year, and when they come, are being more selective on their spend, so they might buy an experience with an animal rather than a cuddly toy, for example. But many people just want to escape Brexit and that's wny they come out.'
Ben Jones, general manager at BeWILDerwood, near Wroxham, which has also invested in a new play area, the Towering Treetop Tangles, said: 'We've certainly seen growth in the amount of visitors coming to BeWILDerwood compared to last Easter. It makes the Twiggles very happy to see lots of people in the woods and escaping day to day life, focusing on having an experience and making memories with their family.'
This newspaper asked Norwich shoppers whether they were booking a holiday abroad now Brexit has been delayed. The majority said Brexit was having no impact on their choices.
Liz Ensor-Nicholson, from Norwich, said: 'I'm optimistic, I actually don't have much time to take holidays because I look after my dogs but Brexit wouldn't deter me from booking a holiday abroad.'