Why Suffolk's staycation industry could 'skyrocket' this summer
- Credit: Denise Bradley
Suffolk's tourism providers are preparing for another staycation boom this summer - with hopes the industry could "skyrocket" when coronavirus restrictions are lifted.
Businesses have said they are experiencing a surge in bookings as many holidaymakers opt to plan trips in the UK in the face of international travel restrictions.
The UK has closed all 'travel corridors' with other countries, meaning anyone arriving from another nation is required to quarantine for 10 days.
The lack of clarity over when restrictions over international travel will be lifted has led to an increase in bookings at domestic travel firms, business owners have said.
Harry Embleton, managing director of lettings firm Air Manage Suffolk, said he expects business to "skyrocket" when it is announced that lockdown restrictions are being eased.
He said: "From April onwards, demand is strong. We are beginning to see bookings come in from Easter onwards.
"International travel is likely to be very restricted in 2021.
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"A lot of people enjoyed their staycations last year. The people that enjoyed them will be looking to book again to avoid disappointment.
"We're eagerly anticipating it - we want to be as ready as we can be.
"We're making it clear that if trips cannot go ahead due to Covid you will get a full refund.
"But we are waiting for that date. I suspect, when we get that date, things will skyrocket.
"In the meantime, we are using this time to make sure the business is watertight."
Alex Tarry, founder of Best of Suffolk, also reported a surge in bookings at his business.
He said: "We're definitely seeing an increase in demand. Yesterday, we took twice as many bookings as the same day last year.
"It is really starting to pick up. There's a lot of confidence in the market - it could be a strong season domestically.
"What we're saying in our team is, as a nation, we need a holiday. People like to look forward to something."
Maria Hindley, who owns the Croft Campsite in Ubbeston with her husband Guy, added: "We're very hopeful for a very good season this year. Our bookings are reflecting that.
"We are getting more longer stays, which is what we've always wanted.
"The whole leisure industry has suffered, but camping has done better than others.
"I think people will be needing a break from their houses. By the start of the summer, I think things will sort themselves out."
Pete Waters, executive director of Visit East of England, urged tourists to book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
He said: "We suspect that once the lockdown ends there will be a bounce back.
"People have already started booking their holidays.
"What's happening is that we are encouraging people to book now, before they miss out."