Suffolk is enjoying a booming tourism industry - but is it thanks to, or in spite of the heatwave?

PUBLISHED: 16:28 27 July 2018 | UPDATED: 16:28 27 July 2018

The Pier at Harwich. Picture: Milsom Hotels

The Pier at Harwich. Picture: Milsom Hotels


Suffolk’s tourism trade has seen an upsurge in business lately, according to the latest business confidence monitor by Visit Suffolk.

A murmuration of swallows above RSPC Minsmere. Picture: RSPB MINSMEREA murmuration of swallows above RSPC Minsmere. Picture: RSPB MINSMERE

The survey of 102 businesses found that 72% are positive about the immediate future, with early indications showing a 1% increase year-on-year.

An assessment of 2018 to-date shows that 81% of respondents are either ‘very satisfied’(28%) or ‘quite satisfied’ (53%) with performance so far this year. This is above 2017 when 18% of businesses said they were ‘very satisfied’ and 59% ‘quite satisfied.’

Visit Suffolk’s brand manager Amanda Bond said: “We urge visitors and locals alike to explore the beauty of Suffolk and the many fantastic tourism attractions available, but to take the appropriate precautions to fully enjoy the experience.”

One Suffolk business that has been booming lately is Cakes and Ale Holiday park in Thebarton, a family-owned park which has been running for 50 years. “June was as busy as July normally is, I think partly down to the weather,” said the park’s manager Abbey Dudley. “Guests are wanting to stay longer because they want to make the most of the sunshine.”

Alfie and Angel Whitton and Samantha Keen enjoy the sunshine  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNAlfie and Angel Whitton and Samantha Keen enjoy the sunshine Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Businesses that offer air conditioning are being particularly well received.

Stas Anastasiades is operations director for Milsom Hotels & Restaurants, which operates the fully air-conditioned restaurant and hotel The Pier at Harwich. “The air conditioning is being really well received by the customers and our team,” he said. “The prolonged sunshine is certainly helping us to have a great summer across all of our properties, both in the restaurants and hotels. At the beginning of the year we budgeted for year on year growth and this is certainly the case.

“All of our restaurants have fabulous outdoor spaces which are extremely popular and crucial to a good summers trading.”

But not everyone is celebrating the heatwave. Ian Barthorpe, the visitor experience officer at RSPB Minsmere in Saxmundham, says the hot climate has been keeping visitors away lately. “We’re used to visitor numbers being impacted because its too rainy, windy or cold, but this time its the sun” he said. “In the first half of July, we were down by about 800-900 visitors compared to last July. People are heading to the beach instead, or staying at home. And the visitors we are getting are heading home by lunchtime because they say its too hot.”

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