Staycation holiday trend is continuing, says East Anglian hotel group

The 'staycation' trend of British holidaymakers spending their time off closer to home is continuing this summer, according to an independent East Anglian hotel group.

Arlington Hotels, which has five hotels around the region, said it had already seen a 5pc increase in bookings in the early part of this year, but expected to see that number rise significantly by the end of the 2011 holiday season.

Arlington, which recorded a turnover in excess of �4m last year, operates 143 bedrooms spanning The George in Norwich, Hotel Wroxham, The George in Swaffham, Heath Court Hotel in Newmarket and the Scarborough Hill Country Inn in North Walsham.

The 'staycation' trend emerged with the credit crisis and global economic downturn from 2008 as UK holidaymakers turned to local holiday destinations ahead of booking overseas breaks.

Tourism accounts for about 49,000 jobs in Norfolk - with the industry contributing an estimated �2.6bn a year to the county's economy.

Arlington managing director Bill Heath said: 'Our hotels had a difficult time during 2009 and the early part of 2010, especially with the banks, but from April last year we saw an increase in the number of rooms booked, especially during the summer and we're seeing the same effect this year.

'We are showing a small increase of about 5pc year on year, but we expect that to increase as the season progresses.

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'The increase, however, has enabled us to invest the extra money back into our business.'

Mr Heath said the refurbishment of the Hotel Wroxham was being followed by investment in the other hotels in the group - especially The George in Norwich's Newmarket Road, which had 'an excellent spring period'.

'We are also finding families and individuals are increasingly turning to the web for their bookings rather than rely on traditional means of finding a hotel, so we have devoted more of our efforts in that direction.'