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East Anglia: Hoseasons boss urges firms to take part in Larking Gowen Tourism Business Survey

06:00 21 January 2014

Hoseasons managing director Simon Altham.

Hoseasons managing director Simon Altham.

Archant

One of East Anglia’s leading tourism figures has issued a rallying call for businesses to take part in this year’s Larking Gowen Tourism Business Survey.

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Simon Altham, managing director of Lowestoft-based holidays firm Hoseasons, urged tourism operators across Norfolk and Suffolk to fill in the online survey before the February 2 closing date.

He made his appeal as Hoseasons, one of the UK’s largest self-catering holiday businesses, released bumper early year booking figures that add to the growing evidence this could be a fabulous “staycation” summer for East Anglia tourism.

A number of holiday cottage lettings firms in the region, including Best of Suffolk, have already reported a strong start to 2014, and Hoseasons says that bookings across its boating portfolio are up 26% compared with the same time last year.

The Broads tops the list of the most popular boating destinations, with bookings up more than 40% on last year, but the positive start to the year is reflected across the business with lodge and park holidays also seeing strong demand, and sales with independent travel agents performing well.

Mr Altham said the importance of investment and good marketing both to be guaged by the survey was underlined by the Broads experience. He said: “It is no coincidence that new boats are booking very well and that is encouraging for companies like Richardson’s who have been making significant investment in their fleet.”

Hoseasons had invested in strong marketing campaigns promoting the destination and launched Starboard, a new luxury boating experience, said Mr Altham.

Urging businesses to sign up to the survey, he said it provided a wealth of information which allowed operators in the region’s number one industry to benchmark themselves against others.

“Everyone wants a barometer of how well they are doing,” he said. “And business confidence breeds more confidence and a sense that things are getting better.”

On the Broads, the brighter picture included improvements to infrastructure and pubs and the Broads Authority working hard to improve tourism, he added.

Mr Altham said positive booking figures across the sector also supported the view that last summer’s glorious weather had “left a sheen on the tourism industry right across the UK”.

The survey, which is backed by Visit Norfolk and Visit Suffolk and promoted by Archant, is available at www.tourismsurveys.co.uk .

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