Could Suffolk see summer 'staycation' boost?
- Credit: Archant
Suffolk will continue to benefit from people taking "staycations" and holidaying closer to home this year once coronavirus curbs ease, tourism leaders believe.
Last year, the industry benefitted greatly from staycations as restrictions put people off from going abroad.
Travel and overnight stays away from home, other than with support networks, are currently banned under the third national lockdown.
But Harry Embleton - managing director of Air Manage Suffolk, which manages holiday lets across the county - said that many people had enjoyed their first experience of a staycation last year and were looking to try it again once restrictions are eased.
"There is a strong demand for the summer," said Mr Embleton.
You may also want to watch:
"We are expecting a similar staycation demand to last year but it might be a longer season."
Last year's season only began at the start of July, Mr Embleton said he was hopeful that spring bookings would play more of a part this season.
- 1 The places with the highest and lowest levels of Covid in Suffolk
- 2 Matchday Recap: Aluko brace not enough as Blues draw at Cambridge
- 3 'I'll never shut up shop' - Cook on 2-2 draw at Cambridge United
- 4 Stu says: Six observations following Town's 2-2 draw at Cambridge
- 5 Ratings: How the Ipswich Town players performed in their 2-2 Cambridge draw
- 6 Covid vaccine boosters now available at walk in sessions
- 7 Cambridge United 2-2 Ipswich Town: Blues let their lead slip again in draw
- 8 New fishmonger shop opens in Suffolk market town
- 9 Have you had the 'worst cold ever' that is going round Suffolk?
- 10 2,000 patients visit A&E because they are feeling depressed
However, he said: "I think people are hesitant about booking anything pre-April."
David Scott, chief executive of Suffolk hotel chain Hotel Folk, was also confident about summer.
“Current bookings remain strong across all our hotels, with many guests taking advantage of our flexible, no deposit rate,” said Mr Scott.
“By remaining flexible, and while travelling abroad remains uncertain, current signs show that interest in domestic holidays is surging and we expect to welcome a greater number of visitors at our hotels this year.”
Pete Waters, executive director for Visit East of England, said: "Although the current situation is dire, we’re confident that if the vaccine roll-out is quick and efficient - then we’ll see tourism open up quickly in the spring.
"After another lockdown, people will be desperate to get out and about again and we have the safe space, wonderful destinations and outdoor activities to cater for them.
"It's unlikely that overseas tourism will return any time soon, so we need to capitalise on that and, in particular, attract back those people who came to us for the first time in 2020 rather than going abroad.
"We bucked the national trend at the end of the first lockdown last July with visitors returning immediately in large numbers and we hope to see the same again.
"Visit Britain are predicting the value of domestic tourism in 2021 will be just 68% of the 2019 pre-pandemic figure, but if we’re quick out of the blocks when it is safe for travel again then we’re optimistic we can do better than that. That will be a massive fillip for the sector.
"The coalition of all our destination marketing organisations, led by Visit East of England, is on the front foot – we launched the latest stage of our Unexplored England digital campaign at Christmas and this is about building interest, demand and bookings for this Summer onwards."
Other parts of the industry remain more cautious about this year, including Center Parcs - which has a site at Elveden.
A spokesman for Center Parcs said: "All of our UK villages are closed until at least February 18, in line with government guidance.
"It’s too soon for us to comment on whether we have seen an increase in bookings for later in the year."