Visitors to Suffolk coast warned we are 'not out of the woods yet'
- Credit: Archant
Coastal towns in Suffolk are preparing to welcome tourists back from April 12 as coronavirus restrictions are eased further - but leaders are reminding people to stick to the rules to avoid "blowing it".
There has been a huge surge in demand for booking staycations in Suffolk in recent weeks following the announcement that the hospitality industry can begin to reopen, leading to some concerns this could see an influx of visitors.
However, leaders in Suffolk have welcomed the easing of restrictions and say they are looking forward to the return of visitors - as long as people continue to do their bit.
Steve Gallant, leader of East Suffolk Council, welcomed the continued easing of Covid restrictions, but reminded visitors we are "still not out of the woods" as he urged for people to remain cautious.
"We must continue to do our bit so that the virus is not allowed to take hold once more," said Mr Gallant.
The council has been working closely with its local businesses to ensure they can reopen safely on Monday.
He said: "This comes with some responsibility of course, and we trust that people will be careful and considerate of others so that we can all enjoy and support our local businesses once more without blowing it."
Overnight stays away from home and in self-contained accommodation will also be permitted from Monday, so visitors are likely to return to East Suffolk.
New data from The Plum Guide, which is a vacation rental company based in London, said it has seen a huge surge in demand for travel to countryside locations.
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Its data - which reflects the trends recorded between January and March 2021 - showed Suffolk is the seventh most popular holiday destination.
London is the top destination, closely followed by Devon, Cornwall, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Somerset.
Mr Gallant said he looks forward to welcoming visitors back, however, he said everyone must use common sense and continue to follow the guidelines wherever they are.
"We will be living with the virus for some time to come so we must be patient and continue to do our bit and hopefully, we’ll be enjoying brighter times ahead," he added.
David Beavan, town and district councillor for Southwold, said the coastal businesses "need the tourism" to avoid any more going bust.
He said: "Obviously people need to be sensible, as we are not out of the woods just yet. But as long as people stick to the rules we will welcome them.
"We need the business as the town relies on tourism."
Mr Beavan said there were a few issues last summer with tourists coming to the area, but it was dealt with at the time and they are now introducing extra bins, doubling the collections and doing litter picks.
They are also launching a dog poo campaign and Mr Beavan said they will do their best to keep Southwold looking clean.
"Many businesses will go bust if we don't get a season this year, which means people will be out of jobs and that destroys the community," he said.
"Southwold needs tourism, but us locals we do get a bit fed up of it, but we chose to live here.
"I just hope people stick to the rules, and if they don't we will come down on them like a tonne of bricks."