Tourism boost as more people visit Suffolk

TOURISM bosses have announced the number of people visiting Suffolk is up and they are optimistic the trend will continue.

In a recent report conducted by the Choose Suffolk Tourism partnership hotel owners, self-catering providers and attractions across the county said from April to June this year business has been up compared to the same period last year.

In total 73 businesses took part in the survey which found 11% of respondents had seen a 20% increase in visitor numbers over the period.

From those taking part 27.4% saw an increase whilst 23.3% noticed a decrease in visitor numbers.

Tourism boss Alex Paul said the industry is growing in Suffolk and is key to the county’s economic performance.

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Mr Paul, tourism manager at Choose Suffolk said: “The findings in this latest Business Confidence Monitor reflect our own anecdotal evidence that we hear in conversations with members of the Choose Suffolk Tourism Partnership.

“There is a identifiable optimism across the sector and, despite the continuing underlying challenges in the wider economy, a feeling that tourism providers are generally confident about their product and ability to attract customers.

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“Tourism in Suffolk is growing and is one of the county’s key economic sectors, and we are working hard with our partners to promote the county as a premier tourism destination.”

And the forecast is good, say those working within the industry, with predictions for growing numbers of people visiting the area.

Looking ahead to the three month period from July to September the majority of businesses taking part in the report said they were confident their visitor numbers would hold up with 37% believing they would remain the same and 16.4% of businesses predicting the number of visitors they would welcome would increase by between 10 and 20%.

Of those taking part in the survey 61.6% said they were feeling ‘about the same’ and ‘a little more optimistic’ about tourism in the area over the next three months.

The report highlighted how businesses within the industry have been taking action to boost visitor numbers.

Extra investment in marketing and public relations was top of the list for 45.2% respondents while others offered customers discounts and sales incentives as well as refurbishing their businesses.

Exploring the factors that may impact negatively on tourism in Suffolk over the next year, respondents pointed to the weather, a lack of tourist demand and price competition.

The report also found that concerns the FIFA World Cup in South Africa this summer would impact on bookings for accommodation locally were “largely unfounded,” with bookings staying the same, compared to the same period last year.

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