East Anglia: Bumper holiday season for region
THE region’s biggest ever summer season starts today - with hundreds of thousands of visitors expected to enjoy top attractions in both Suffolk and Essex and boost the local economy.
Industry leaders have predicted a successful few months as more people are expected to take staycation breaks in light of the extra bank holiday over the Jubilee weekend and the London Olympics.
The region, which has been dubbed the “Mediterranean of England” because of its warm and dry climate compared to other wetter areas of the country, also benefits from being close to the capital and having a generous mix of both coast and countryside.
Amanda Bond from the Suffolk branch of Visit East Anglia said: “I think more people than usual are likely to visit local places because of the hike in fuel prices and because we are within easy reach of major centres of population. Most of what we have in Suffolk is relatively a short drive or train journey away.”
Tourism is one of the most important industries for the region. In Suffolk it is worth a �1.7 billion annually and employs 35,000 people. In Essex it is worth �2.8billion and employs 54,000 people. Across the whole of the east of England, tourism is worth �6.2 billion.
Managers at Easton Park Farm are preparing for an extra busy Easter bank holiday with the arrival of their newly born lambs set to bring in the crowds.
Farm manager Fiona Siddall said: “One of the things we have going for us here in the east is the fantastic weather compared to places up north which have much more rain than we do. I call our region the Mediterranean of England and I think it definitely helps our tourist industry.
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“But we’ve also invested in indoor activities as well for families just in case the weather takes a turn for the worse.”
Although coastal attractions typically depend on good weather for a successful season, seaside businesses are optimistic this summer will one of the best yet for the region’s tourism industry.
Clacton Pavilion has undergone a �2.5million refurbishment completed just in time for the summer season.
Two new rides have now been installed and an indoor bowling alley and restaurant is set to open in late May.
Owner Billy Peak said: “With any seaside business you rely heavily on the weather no matter what but we have some under cover attractions so we’re hoping for a good season overall.”
Tendring will also be showcasing what it’s ‘Sunshine Coast’ has to offer this weekend with the launch of the British Kite Surfing Association national competition starting today at Martello Tower Bay in Clacton.