Tourism industry leaders speak of blockbuster summer and sky high confidence levels

Barn Drift, Norfolk Country Cottages

Barn Drift, Norfolk Country Cottages - Credit: Archant

With a scorching summer on the agenda for East Anglia, it's no wonder that tourism businesses across Norfolk are confident of a blockbuster season.

Norfolk Country Cottages. Santa Monica.

Norfolk Country Cottages. Santa Monica. - Credit: Archant

And service sector businesses across the region have not only voiced their confidence in the coming months, but have also revealed that so far 2018 has been good for business.

According to a new report from Visit Norfolk, 73% of Norfolk businesses are happy with their performance so far this year, with 80% satisfied with their performance during the last public holiday.

Looking ahead, 72% of the 123 businesses approached reported that they were positive about the immediate future, with 58% expecting to see their company grow this year.

Norfolk Cottages is one of the county's leading accommodation businesses, and announced that this year's heat wave led to record breaking numbers of bookings.

Gaga Barn in Cromer. Picture: Courtesy Norfolk Country Cottages

Gaga Barn in Cromer. Picture: Courtesy Norfolk Country Cottages - Credit: Archant

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A spokesman for the company said: 'Overall, holiday makers are staying for longer, in larger groups and are already thinking ahead to next year, with Norfolk Cottages forward bookings for 2019 up a mammoth 1,327% compared to this time last year.'

For the Holt and Reepham based company the next few months look rosy – long break bookings (between eight and 18 days) are up 37% in August compared to last year, as well as a 147% increase post summer.

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Some businesses don't have the evidence of bookings to keep their confidence up, and so rely on a range of other factors.

Banham Zoo sells the majority of its tickets at the gate. Martin Dupee, director of operations at the zoo, and Africa Alive, said: 'Our business relies on the weather as an outdoor activity. From what we can see there's no rain on the horizon, so we're very confident about the next few months.'

The 50th anniversary of Banham Zoo. One of the cheetahs. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The 50th anniversary of Banham Zoo. One of the cheetahs. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

He continued: 'Last August was not good for us because the weather is bad, but with the forecast at the moment we're set to bring that back. Because of the weather from January to March, our Easter holiday wasn't so good, but our May bank holiday brought that back and got us well ahead.'

He said: 'There are other factors we take into consideration. Our annual Zoo Do at the weekend did really well, despite the World Cup and Wimbledon, so that was a good sign. We also have a constant dialogue with local accommodation sites, so I know what their market is doing and get an idea of resident visitors versus holidaymakers.'

Banham Zoo.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Banham Zoo.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

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