Tourism bosses welcome staycation boom set to hit Norfolk
Tourism chiefs reckon the easing of lockdown will create the “ultimate staycation year” in the county with Norwich the big attraction.
It comes as a new league table of places most likely to see tourism recover from the effects of coronavirus ranked Norwich fourth, beating hotspots like Cornwall, Bournemouth and Blackpool.
The news was welcomed in the local tourism sector which has suffered a massive dent during lockdown but which is hoping for a recovery as attractions and hospitality gear up for reopening on July 4.
Peter Williamson, chairman of the Norfolk and Suffolk Tourist Attractions Association, said: “This is going to be the ultimate staycation year. Staycation is an over-used phrase but this year, more than ever before, it will be the true meaning of the word.
“There is an appetite for people to come back to Norfolk, there is a pent-up demand, but we are pleading with visitors to understand things aren’t going to be the same as pre-lockdown. You are going to need to pre-book and adhere to social distancing, catering is going to have a very different delivery and people need to be sensible.
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“I also think the recovery will be slow but bookings are very encouraging, so it’s looking very positive.”
Stefan Gurney, executive director of Norwich BID, Business Improvement District, said: “We have a good balance of what we offer with the availability on our doorstep of the coast and the Broads. Data we have been looking at recently showed a quarter of those people asked were happy to look at city breaks, and I think you can relate this back to the low level of Covid in Norfolk and Norwich which makes it a safe environment for people.
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“We have put in place guidelines to make the city safe and people are looking for something different, there is an increase in the staycation with people not looking to go abroad or to big cities like Manchester, Liverpool and London. People want something more unexplored and we have lots to offer.”
Simon Altham, chief commercial officer at Hoseasons, said: “It’s great news for Norfolk and Norwich that the area is being earmarked for a tourism boost. This is in alignment with trends we are seeing right across the UK, as bookings at a local and national level have been incredibly high for the last few weeks. We hope that in the coming weeks and months the tourism sector can begin to grow once again.”
New research from property firm Colliers International revealed Plymouth and the Isle of Wight were set to be two of the UK’s big winners from the boom in staycations with Exeter ranked third followed by Norwich.