East Anglian tourism sector ‘could see Brexit boost’

Late summer sunshine along the coast in Lowestoft. Sailing boats enjoying the weather on Oulton Bro

Late summer sunshine along the coast in Lowestoft. Sailing boats enjoying the weather on Oulton Broad. - Credit: Nick Butcher

East Anglia's tourism businesses could receive a boost following the Brexit vote, believes an industry expert.

With the falling value of the pound hitting UK travellers' spending power, more may opt to stay in this country for their holidays, said Chris Scargill, tourism partner at Larking Gowen.

'I can see there being a boost to the economies of Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex. People who might have just popped across the Channel may now be thinking of having that weekend away in England instead.'

Overseas visitors make up 'very small proportion' of East Anglia's £7bn tourism industry, but the region could also see an increase in the number of EU citizens keen to visit 'before time runs out', Mr Scargill added.

He said decisions for Brits to holiday at home could be made at short notice and did not require deposits or planning so may become more attractive if uncertainty continues to surround Brexit negotiations in the long term.

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Restrictions on the free movement of people has also caused concern for some tourism businesses who employ high numbers of workers from overseas.

Mr Scargill added: 'We have to ensure that the youth of today see the tourism sector as an opportunity.'

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Paul Waters, director of East Anglian travel company Premier Travel, said travellers could ultimately be affected by changing compensation regulations, health benefits and data roaming charges.

But he added: 'Many European countries rely on visitors from the UK and it will, therefore, be in their interest to find ways to maintain existing relationships.'

John Potter of Potters Resort at Hopton, a supporter of Leave, agreed there would be a boost from increased numbers of holiday-makers from the UK and abroad – but warned it may not last.

'It's a fantastic opportunity for UK tourism in the short-term but I do believe the pound will recover and in the long term it could be to our disadvantage,' he said.

What will be the impact on your business? Email mark.shields@archant.co.uk or call 01603 772426.

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