'Whirlwind' summer for tourism in Suffolk as businesses recover from Covid
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Suffolk's tourism industry has "weathered the storm" of Covid and has started to show signs of recovery after the pandemic sparked a boom in staycations.
Holiday lets in the county have been at near-capacity throughout the summer as international travel restrictions have forced people to stay closer to home.
But with the peak season winding to a close, businesses have spoken of the challenges presented by Covid - including staff shortages due to the 'pingdemic'.
Nick Attfield, director of properties at Adnams, was pleased to see the end of restrictions but said losing staff had posed its own issues.
He said: "Luckily the staycation boom has helped us. We've been at 100% occupancy in our hotels.
"It's been a tricky and draining summer. The impact of the 'pingdemic' has been incredibly frustrating and it's been disappointing weather-wise.
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"It was phenomenally important that the restrictions eased. Hospitality trade has been of life support since March 2020 and we need to recover our losses.
"It was absolutely vital that we had a good and profitable summer. But there's still a long way to go."
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Abi Charter, marketing manager at holiday rental firm Best of Suffolk, added: "Ever since we reopened it's been fantastic - it's been a whirlwind ever since April 12. It's great going back to what we do best.
"We've been at pretty much 100% capacity since we reopened.
"It was so important that we had a strong recovery from lockdown. We feel we have now weathered the storm from Covid."
Annie Willey, brand manager at The Suffolk Coast Destination Management Organisation, highlighted the importance of encouraging people back to Suffolk when travel restrictions are eased.
She said: "Coastal accommodation has been flat-out. It's been an extremely busy season.
"Hospitality has had one of the hardest jobs to do, but everyone's been affected by staff shortages. There's been real problems.
"The industry is relieved to have had some money come in, but it's exhausted. The increase in visitor numbers has presented its own issues.
"There have been a lot of first-time visitors to Suffolk and we're hoping that enough of them will have fallen in love with the place. We need to capitalise on the fact that the interests of these first-time visitors have been piqued."