East Suffolk: Tourist attractions reap the rewards of a bumper summer

Aldeburgh Carnival Procession 2013 - theme seaside

Aldeburgh Carnival Procession 2013 - theme seaside - Credit: citizenside.com

Tourist attractions across east Suffolk have said that summer 2013 was one of the best on record with visitor numbers, for many, reaching an all-time high.

Throughout the region the warm weather and long-awaited sunshine has been credited for boosting trade and enabling investment in years to come.

Naomi Tarry, director at Best of Suffolk, reported a 20% surge in year-on-year bookings with more people holidaying in the county than ever before.

As chairman of Aldeburgh Business Association, Ms Tarry has also welcomed the positive impact achieved through Benjamin Britten’s centenary events, which brought worldwide attention on the coastal town in celebration of the renowned composer and his work.

“It has been great to see so many people enjoying a visit to our wonderful seaside town and enjoying the great variety of independent and interesting shops on offer,” she said.

Along the coast, Southwold Pier has also reported an “excellent” year – with more than 750,000 visitors and record-breaking periods over the August bank holiday.

“We can’t have wished better for our first year of ownership of The Pier,” said Alex Paul, director of sales and marketing.

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“It’s great to see our customers have really enjoyed the mix of food, retail and entertainment that they can experience all in one place.”

Mr Paul said the success had supported plans to create new features in 2014 which he felt would “excite” visitors old and new.

Heritage sites such as Framlingham and Orford castles were other attractions which shared in the buoyant season, with English Heritage reporting a 5% rise in visitor numbers across the region.

“This enabled us to deliver quality events at Framlingham Castle and extend our education engagement at Orford Castle,” a spokesman said.

Not all increases in visitor numbers, however, were transferred into profits.

Manning’s Amusements in Felixstowe recorded little financial benefit from the busy season.

“Visitor numbers have been good, it’s great to see more people in Felixstowe, however spending has not been up particularly, which is probably a sign of the times,” said co-owner Jonny Manning. “We’ve kept prices low to help ensure visitors keep coming back.”