Suffolk sees big tourism boost as people choose to holiday at home
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Bookings at some of Suffolk’s most popular holiday spots have seen a huge spike in the past week with more Brits choosing to stay at home, rather than risk travelling abroad.
The rise in bookings has provided a welcome boost to the local economy, with coastal towns again feeling like busy summer locations as holiday companies near capacity.
Alex Tarry, founder and director at Best of Suffolk, said the company is now trying to squeeze in extra bookings as their 408 homes are nearing capacity.
He said: “The last week has been really busy.
“Our capacity is limited and with the situation in Spain we have had to start filling the gaps between other breaks. “It’s great for property owners because they get a load of bookings and it’s also great for the local economy.
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“I’m in Aldeburgh and it’s great to see it busy for all the businesses here.”
The holiday home owner, who founded Best of Suffolk in 2006, added that those who would not usually stay in the UK are now choosing to do so due to the risk of travelling abroad.
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“What the situation in Spain has done is put a big question mark over any foreign travel,” he said.
“What we’ve noticed is that we are seeing people staying in self-catering accommodation who are clearly new - those who would ordinarily be doing something else.”
However, despite an increase in business, Mr Tarry said that unlike other areas such as Cornwall and east Kent, most coastal areas of Suffolk are not over crowded.
Andy Wood, Chair of Visit East of England said that Suffolk is benefitting from the pandemic due to increased advertising and the county being seen as an ‘undiscovered’ part of England.
He said: “I think in particular Suffolk and Norfolk have seen an increase in bookings because it is a bit of unexplored England.
“People see East Anglia as an area with lots of wide open spaces where they can social distance well.
“It also has a wonderful heritage, culture and food and drink sector which is very attractive to visitors.
“Undoubtedly there is a benefit that is brewing from the restriction in other countries and the uncertainty about the R rate in other holiday destination.
“Clearly consumers are choosing to rediscover England and that’s a really good thing.
“What that does is enable the economy of Suffolk and Norfolk to recover better because the visitor economy across the two counties is worth about 5 billion and about 100,000 jobs rest on it.”
In 2018, it was reported the tourism sector was worth more than £2bn to Suffolk’s economy and provided jobs for more than 42,000 people.
Brian Gibson-Green who is a partner at Suffolk Retreats said that despite a rise in bookings, it won’t recoup what has been lost during the Covid pandemic.
He said: “Business hasn’t been good for us at all but it has been better in the last couple of weeks.
“The next couple of weeks we’re pretty busy and for the rest of August.
“It’s not going to recoup what we’ve lost so far, but it is promising at the moment.
“People are making the decision to stay closer to home which seems sensible when you look what happened to people who decided to rush off to Spain.
“I can only assume that some of our bookings have something to do with people staying in the UK.
“It’s not been a very good time so far but hopefully we can survive until next year.”