Suffolk tourism on course for a record season as bookings soar

George Bradley, general manager of Suffolk Secrets.

George Bradley, general manager of Suffolk Secrets. - Credit: Archant

One of Suffolk’s leading holiday lettings businesses has reported a record level of summer bookings for this stage of the season.

Suffolk Secrets, which has taken on 50 new properties since the start of 2016, bringing its portfolio to nearly 450, says that bookings so far this year are up by 14% overall.

However, reservations for some weeks during the school summer holidays up by more than 25%, including the final week of August for which bookings up by a remarkable 75%.

George Bradley, general manager at Suffolk Secrets, which is based in Southwold but offers properties across east Suffolk, said: “Average spend is up by over 10% compared to this time last year. The number of people booking 4-star and 5-star rated accommodation is greatly increasing year on year; those holidaying in Suffolk are increasingly demanding higher quality properties.”

He added: “The rise in booking levels, perceived fears about how safe foreign destinations are, the comparative ease of travelling here versus travelling abroad and the elevated state of British pride as the Queen celebrates her 90th year this summer could well see Suffolk as a ‘staycation’ destination reach an all-time high.”

Visit Suffolk brand manager Amanda Bond said Suffolk Secrets’ figures pointed to the continuation of an increase in spend by visitors to the county.

“In 2014, we saw a £50m increase on the total tourism value for Suffolk,” she said. “2015 figures have yet to be announced, although Suffolk Secrets’ experience seems to support this spend trend.”

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According to Barclays Business, the staycation economy – including all holidays and short breaks taken by Britons in the UK, not just day trips taken by those staying at home, to which the term originally applied – is worth £22.5billion a year.

And Barclays’ research suggests that more than three out of four UK adults (77%) have been on or are planning a staycation this year.

This is in line with predictions from Visit Britain which expects the number of UK visits to grow to 36.7million this year, with 8% growth already seen in the first three months of 2016.