Suffolk/Essex: Splendid weekend weather boosts tourism

Hot weather brings tourism boost

Hot weather brings tourism boost - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

AS radiant sunshine beamed across the county, the dawn finally broke on the region’s summer tourism trade.

A bumper weekend gave the industry a much needed boost and prompted a brighter forecast from glowing tourism chiefs.

Spending in the East of England was up 13.5% - the third highest year-on-year increase behind London (16.1%) and the South East (13.9%).

Amanda Bond, brand manager for Visit Suffolk, said: “The glorious weather of the bank holiday weekend has been welcome news for the Suffolk tourism industry. Many tourism businesses feel that the sunshine has enabled them to make up ground following a quiet Easter and on the whole it’s given the sector a boost.”

As well as day visitors, hotels and holiday parks reported a surge in last minute bookings.

It was a good weekend for sites under the management of the National Trust. Nick Champion, regional head of communications, said: “We had a really good weekend across Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex, mainly due to the fantastic weather.

“Usually, if it’s really hot, people might choose to go to the beach but it was a great bank holiday for us in terms of visitor numbers.”

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Ian Barthorpe, of the RSPB on the Suffolk coast, said: “It’s a great time of year to be out at Minsmere and we had record takings in the cafe.

“Last year we fell well short. It was almost entirely down to the bad weather. Some parts of the reserve were under water.”

Colchester Zoo welcomed some 10,000 visitors in three days. Zoological director Anthony Tropeano said: “Following a very disappointing Easter holiday period the good weather this bank holiday has meant we saw a significantly improved volume of much needed trade.

“The warm temperatures not only brought out the visitors but enabled the park’s residents to enjoy some real sunshine for the first time in many months.”

In Stowmarket, the Museum of East Anglian Life hosted May Day festivities and Robin Hood themed fun. Abbie Chidwick, visitor services intern, said: “We recorded twice as many visitors as this time last year.

“The weather was really good and obviously had a big part to play.”

Steve Western, meteorologist with Weatherquest, forecasts poorer conditions for the coming days. He said: “It’s going to change quite dramatically over the next few days. It will be windy, wet and a lot cooler, with quite strong winds on Thursday and still feeling cooler into next week.”

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