Numbers boost for visitor attractions

A GROUP of East Anglian attractions has seen visitor numbers soar this year as “staycation” tourists choose to spend their holidays closer to home.Between them, Africa Alive at Kessingland, Dinosaur Adventure at Lenwade in Norfolk and Banham Zoo in Norfolk have seen an 11% rise in visitors this year compared to last year, helping to offset a difficult trading period in other parts of the family business.

A GROUP of East Anglian attractions has seen visitor numbers soar this year as “staycation” tourists choose to spend their holidays closer to home.

Between them, Africa Alive at Kessingland, Dinosaur Adventure at Lenwade in Norfolk and Banham Zoo in Norfolk have seen an 11% rise in visitors this year compared to last year, helping to offset a difficult trading period in other parts of the family business.

Managing director Martin Goymour admitted that the last 18 months had been “tough” as the parent company, which is involved in property and construction and has historically supported the parks arm, took “a big hit” during the recession.

The trend towards “staycations” had been a real help during a difficult period, he said.


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“It has been wonderful for our parks but also all the Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex attractions because people have stayed at home and explored not only our attractions but the Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex countryside and coastline. We are honestly looking forward to 2010 with a programme of further improvements and additions to the parks,” he said.

Luckily, the weather this year had been favourable and had not suffered the snow at Easter and rain in August which had dampened visitor numbers last year, he said.

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“The parks are now able to stand on their own two feet. That's meant some cost reductions in non-animal areas - the animals always come first in the parks so the care and welfare standards have been maintained and this year has been an exceptional year for births, everything from giraffes, tigers, cheetahs, penguins, flamingos are just a few of the things that have successfully produced youngsters. Visitors have responded.”

Speaking at the East of England Development Agency's Destination Growth event in Duxford last week, he said he felt the recession had had the effect among businesses of prompting them of “putting your house in order”.

“Personally I believe the recession will take at least another year or two to see the worst of it,” he said.

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