Suffolk and Essex: Tourism bosses looking forward to Easter boom as weather hots up

TOURISM bosses are gearing up for a bumper bank holiday weekend with hundreds of thousands of visitors expected to flock to East Anglia as the region bakes in Mediterranean style temperatures.

The mercury is set to soar to around 25C (77F) over the Easter break - higher than popular travel hotspots including Ibiza, Cyprus and Monaco.

The fine weather is expected to bring an influx of holidaymakers and day trippers to Suffolk and Essex, providing millions of pounds for the local economy.

Temperatures peaked at 24.4C (76F) at Wattisham yesterday and that hot weather looks likely to continue well in to next week.

The Easter weekend kick starts the summer season and is often seen as a good indicator of how the rest of the year will go.

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Brigit Parker, marketing manager of tourism promoters Choose Suffolk, said: “The warm sunny weather should mean that Suffolk will welcome thousands of day visitors over the Easter weekend.

“Our attractions are for all the family and mean that as we build up to the bank holidays and the Royal wedding, our county and its wealth of places to visit will once again be something people are drawn to.

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“The Easter weekend is a time when, with good weather, people get in the mood for the summer season.

“We know that the day trip market is worth around �2.4m a day to Suffolk. We are proud of what we have to offer and look forward to welcoming people to our county.”

Naomi Tarry, who runs holiday lettings agency Best of Suffolk and is also vice chairman of the Aldeburgh Business Association, said they were expecting to be fully booked for this long weekend.

“Easter is a very important time,” she said. “It really kicks-off the start to the tourist season and sets a benchmark for the rest of the year.

“What we are finding is that people appear to be taking a lot more last minute breaks for a shorter time. On short breaks people tend to spend more money - they are more likely to eat out at restaurants for example if they are just staying a few nights rather than for a couple of weeks.

“If the weather stays like this we will see a lot of day trippers as well. People will be out and about enjoying Suffolk and making the most of the attractions that we have.”

Stephen Bournes, owner of Southwold Pier, added: “We are looking forward to a cracking weekend. The sun is shining, we are very busy and everyone seems very happy. They are proud of being British.”

Alex Paul, general manager of letting agency Suffolk Secrets, also said they were feeling very confident ahead of the new visitor season.

“We are seeing good growth figures for the peak seasons through Easter and summer and, as encouraging, plenty of out of season bookings especially short breaks which is clearly showing that Suffolk is growing as a year-round destination,” he said. “Suffolk is a truly wonderful holiday destination and we all need to keep shouting about it.”

Steve Western, from local forecasters Weatherquest, said they were expecting the hot weather to continue.

“It should be an unchanged situation over the weekend,” he said. “There is an area of high pressure over Scandinavia which is keeping a very warm south easterly air flow coming up from the central Mediterranean - that’s one of the reasons why it’s so warm.”

He said that East Anglia should remain dry throughout the weekend and temperatures were likely to range between 20C (68F) and 23C (73F).

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