‘We are open’ – Coastal resorts’ message to tourists
PUBLISHED: 05:30 22 July 2020 | UPDATED: 10:20 22 July 2020
‘Please come and visit’ – that is the message echoed by coastal Suffolk businesses as they look to rebuild following coronavirus lockdown.
The plea comes after lockdown saw businesses hit hard – which companies now hope will be reversed amid an expected summer of “staycationing”.
Major attractions such as Africa Alive! and Pleasurewood Hills have now reopened, while amusement arcades along the coastline and in hotspots like Felixstowe have also opened their doors to tourists.
Annie Willey, brand manager for The Suffolk Coast Destination Management Organisation, said she is proud of the role businesses have played and hopes the area will see an influx of tourists.
She said: “We know the mix of our rural coast, beautiful seaside towns, stunning landscapes, nature and wildlife are exactly what people are looking for right now.
“The peace, tranquillity, wide open skies, offered up alongside bustling market towns and countryside villages provide the perfect setting for people to come and relax and recover from the last few traumatic months.
“The people who have worked so hard to prepare for these visitors can now do what they do best – offer first class places to stay, attractions, experiences and places to eat, we could not be prouder.”
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Ms Willey added businesses across the coastline have ensured guidelines are in place to offer those looking to get away a safe and relaxing trip.
She said: “Tourism and hospitality businesses along the coast have displayed incredible strength and creativity to keep going against all odds, to survive and salvage as much of the season as possible.
“It is vital to make sure the balance is right between encouraging visitors to come and being mindful of the impact on local communities. Respect, protect and enjoy is the overall message.”
According to research by Visit East of England, half of the accommodation businesses on the coast reported losses of up to 80% as a result of lockdown, representing between £10,000 to £50,000. In 2018, the tourism industry was worth more than £2bn.
David Beavan, Liberal Democrat councillor for Southwold, originally put up signs asking tourists to stay away during lockdown, but is now looking forward to seeing holidaymakers return to town and help “rebuild”.
“I think everyone knows retail and independent businesses have been hit hard,” Mr Beavan said.
“We have to make the most of what we have in the summer while we have it, as soon enough it will be winter again and there won’t be as many tourists around. We are so lucky to have the wide open beaches in this part of the world.
“But the message is we are open for business and please do come and see us, but remember to be patient and be considerate – there are still guidelines in place and a lot of our older community are still shielding.”