Uncertainty over Brexit could be fuelling tourism boost in region

Saturday 6th April

Saturday 6th April - Credit: citizenside.com

Tourism bosses in East Anglia believe uncertainty over Brexit is fuelling a boost in business as families choose to holiday closer to home.

Holiday firms in Suffolk and Essex are reporting record bookings and believe that fears over the falling value of the pound and the cost of holidaying abroad amid the uncertainty over Brexit is the underlying reason.

Bookings for cottage holidays has increased with Best of Suffolk having one of its best years on record in 2018.

Tim Ripman, head of operations, said: “We had our best December in terms of bookings and a very strong start to the New Year. Brexit is something out of our control.

“I think people will be deterred from travelling abroad this year, with potential chaos after March and into April.

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“I think that goes in favour of tourism domestically and it could boost the numbers of people coming to Suffolk. People who came here in July and August could have been in the Mediterranean.”

In Essex, a study in 2015 found that the tourism sector was worth £373m to the economy, up £26m from 2012.

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It is estimated that 6,000 people are employed within the sector.

Mick Skeels, a Tendring district councillor who is the portfolio holder for leisure and tourism, said: “We have already seen an increase in bookings. 2018 was a bumper year.

“I think that Brexit is helping because people are thinking that it is much safer to holiday at home. You don’t have to worry about currency and flights which are uncertain with Brexit.

“Also, with the pound falling and exchange rates becoming worse, it is cheaper to stay at home. I think we will see a difference over the next couple of years with more people staying at home.”

As a region, East Anglia relies on tourism to boost the local economy with the sector said to account for 13% of employment.

Amanda Bond, of Visit Suffolk, said: “Tourism is one of the leading sectors in Suffolk, currently worth £1.9bn to the local economy and employing 42,000 people.

“Whatever the outcome post-Brexit it’s important that tourism prospers so holidaymakers can continue to travel freely and enjoy the benefits of taking a break in our glorious county.”

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