Suffolk/ Norfolk: Larking Gowen Tourism Business Survey to shine spotlight on key trends

Chris Scargill of Larking Gowen. Chris Scargill of Larking Gowen.

Friday, January 3, 2014
6:00 AM

Leading tourism figures from across the region have highlighted the importance of the eighth Larking Gowen Tourism Business Survey which is launched today.

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The annual survey, supported by Visit Norfolk and Visit Suffolk and promoted by media company Archant, whose newspaper titles include the East Anglian Daily Times, provides data about the state of East Anglia’s £4.2billion tourism industry and is seen as a vital tool to influence government decision makers.

Light shed on such key indicators as the level of investment taking place, the influence of social media and confidence in the future also provides information for operators to benchmark their business against others.

Chris Scargill, tourism and leisure partner at Larking Gowen, chartered accountants, rolled out the survey into Suffolk for the first time last year and was buoyed by the response.

He said: “Suffolk businesses bought into the survey very quickly and out of the 400 taking part, it was nearly an even split between Norfolk and Suffolk. This year we are looking to grow the number taking part to increase the survey’s value even more.”

Mr Scargill said while last year’s survey sent the message that tourism businesses remained positive about their economic outlook despite the previous wash-out summer, this year’s might well tell the story that not everyone flourished in the warm summer of 2013.

“Consumer leisure spend is often planned early in the year when for our region the weather was not so good,” he said.

New topics to be examined in this year’s survey include businesses’ commitment to green energy and attitudes to zero hours contracts.

Visit East Anglia chief executive Keith Brown said: “Given the dynamic nature of tourism, with constant changes in consumer spending habits, higher spending competing destinations and the impact that weather has on our industry, it is vital tourism businesses understand how their experiences compare against the overall market performance.”

Urging businesses to “take the 15 minutes the survey takes”, Ian Russell, boss of Wroxham Barns, the award-winning retail and craft centre at Hoveton, said: “A good response sends a positive signal to decision makers at central government, VisitEngland and the Local Enterprise Partnership.”

Businesses have until January 31 to fill in the survey which is available online at www.tourismsurveys.co.uk .

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