Suffolk's tourism industry beating weath

DOWNPOURS and freak thunder storms have not dampened the demand for holiday breaks in Suffolk, tourism bosses have announced.

Lizzie Parry

DOWNPOURS and freak thunder storms have not dampened the demand for holiday breaks in Suffolk, tourism bosses have announced.

After early forecasts from the MET office predicting a barbeque summer, expectations were dashed with overcast skies and frequent bursts of heavy rain.

This revised forecast, at the end of July, led some commentators to predict a rush to grab late short-haul holidays in Europe at the expense of the UK 'staycation' choice.

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But experts at Choose Suffolk Tourism Partnership said yesterday bookings are up compared to this time last year.

Alex Paul, tourism manager at Choose Suffolk, said: “When talking to our members across the county, we have been very pleased to hear that the lacklustre summer has failed to have a negative impact on their bookings and visitor numbers.”

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Across Suffolk hotels, B&B's and self catering holiday cottages are enjoying a boost, with bookings continuing to remain high.

Tim Rowan-Robinson, managing director at Thorpeness & Aldeburgh Hotels Ltd, said they are seeing a greater number of late bookings and a lot of last minute demand to stay in the county an extra night.

He said: “We have actually witnessed an increase in demand this year, which is a very encouraging sign. We had a fantastically good period from May through to July, and August is also looking good for us as well.

“The first quarter of the year has been well up on last year. We are finding that bookings are coming in much later, but they are still coming and that's the most important thing.”

Naomi Tarry, managing director of Best of Suffolk, a holiday cottages letting company, said they have noted a rise in newcomers to Suffolk.

She added: “Our holiday cottage bookings are more than double that of last year, which I hope will also be good news for the Suffolk businesses that our guests visit whilst they're here.

“An important contributor to our rapid growth is that we are reaching people who are coming to Suffolk for the first time and, the good news is that, they are telling us they have enjoyed it and plan to come back again.”

Choose Suffolk put the current value of tourism to the Suffolk economy at �1.6billion a year, sustaining 30,000 jobs across the county. The target for 2010 is �1.8billion.

Mr Paul said recent spring and summer campaigns, advertising Suffolk on the London Underground has resulted in over 35,000 new visitors to the Visit Suffolk website.

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