Tourism bosses report visitor numbers up thanks to weak pound
Tourism chiefs in the region are reporting visitor numbers are up compared to last summer – fuelled by the weak pound meaning holidaymakers are choosing staycations.
And it may not be good if you're looking to travel abroad this summer, but the low exchange rate is boosting local tourism as people opt for a holiday at home.
The number of tourists visiting the UK from China this summer is up by almost a fifth along with increases in visitors from India and the US, reflected in flight bookings from long-haul destinations being 6% higher than last year. It comes as a welcome boost, particularly after last year's summer saw a heatwave deterring many visitors.
The number of people staying at holiday parks and lodges in Norfolk and Suffolk through Lowestoft-based holiday firm Hoseasons are up by 11% on the same period last year. Simon Altham, chief portfolio officer at Awaze UK, the parent company of Hoseasons and sister firm cottages.com, said: "UK holidays have remained popular this year, and a weak pound means spending money doesn't go as far overseas this year, so last minute staycations are certainly more attractive.
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"We've not only seen an increase in customers staying at lodges and parks, but we've also seen a growing number of second homeowners looking to rent their properties out to make the most of UK holidaymakers who choose to holiday closer to home. The key for all domestic holiday businesses is to promote the fantastic quality of the UK experience - from accommodation to facilities and attractions - which we believe compares very favourably with other destinations anywhere in the world."
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Adam Goymour, company director at Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure, Lenwade, said: "It's fantastic that British people are seeing the benefit of staying within the UK for their annual summer holiday and long may it continue. We might not be able to compete on wall-to-wall sunshine but we can certainly compete on fun activities and beautiful scenery."
Professor David Field, CEO of the Zoological Society of East Anglia, overseeing Banham Zoo in Norfolk and Africa Alive! in Suffolk, said visitor numbers were up by 16% this summer, compared to last. "The figures are better than last year because we had a heatwave, we would say the business is steady, unpredictable as people are feeling uncertain about Brexit so we'd always like to see more people."
The travel data was from the Spanish-based firm ForwardKeys which monitors 80,000 flights and 17,000 holiday bookings every day.