December 5 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, September 21, 2013
Suffolk is set to reap the benefits of a successful summer period for tourism well into next year – with almost 80% of hotels and self catering accommodation reporting an unprecedented surge in bookings for 2014.
Tourism bosses said the region had seen “one of its best years ever” in terms of visitor numbers and expected the season to have a lasting effect on people’s perception of the county as a dream holiday destination.
Rebecca Rix-Meo, owner of Acanthus Holidays, which manages a range of holiday accommodation in Southwold, said: “In the last few months we have seen a massive surge for 2014 summer bookings.
“The warm weather has helped paint our region in the best possible light for tourists and they seem eager to return again next year which is wonderful news for everyone.
“Suffolk is going from strength to strength as one of the best spots in the UK for a holiday. The interest is greater than ever before.”
Amanda Bond, brand manager for Visit Suffolk, said Suffolk was already soaring above the national trend for repeat bookings.
She said: “Our recent Business Confidence Monitor survey of the tourism industry showed that around 79% are seeing future bookings for this quarter increase or remain static, which is higher than the national average of 73%.
“Around 52% of businesses are feeling more optimistic about the future compared to the same period last year.”
She added: “Our focus now is to support businesses throughout the shoulder-seasons and develop collaborative methods which continue to entice the customer all year-round, not just when we expect the sun to shine.”
Keith Brown, chief executive officer for Visit Suffolk, said the autumn months were a good time to take stock of the summer success story.
“2013 looks to be one of Suffolk’s best ever years for tourism,” he said. “It is one of the fastest growing tourism regions of England as more people are discovering what the county has to offer.
“Visitors are demanding high quality accommodation and the self-catering market is particularly strong. Suffolk is a great place to invest in right now.”
He added: “It is among the warmest, driest counties in the UK, has a good variety of locally distinctive places to explore and is easily accessible from London, the South East of England and the Midlands.”
Research, carried out by estate agents Knight Frank, found that second homes have reached record levels in the UK with holiday lettings in this country also on the up, on the back of the ‘staycation’ market.
Mrs Rix-Meo said places like Southwold were particular hotspots for this type of break.
Her company has been running for 15 years and rates range from £340 a week off peak for a romantic bolthole for two to almost £5,000 for a seafront mansion that sleeps 14 mid-summer.
She said: “When the weather is as good as it has been this year, Suffolk is hard to beat as a holiday destination. There are places to stay to suit all budgets.”
Bruce Provan, Waveney District Council’s cabinet member for leisure, tourism and economic development, said around four million people visit the region every year.
“We have a tourism economy which is worth more than £250m to our local economy and it supports about 12% of jobs,” he added.
“Our current marketing campaign is performing above target as we attract more and more new visitors to Waveney.”