Seaside traders celebrate bumper start to Easter weekend
PUBLISHED: 07:30 20 April 2019 | UPDATED: 11:26 20 April 2019
Temperatures peaked at 23C yesterday and families were keen to make the most of it by dancing in and out of the water fountains at Holywells Park, basking in the sun at Felixstowe and walking along the picturesque coast at Aldeburgh.
What's more, the balmy weather is set to continue over the weekend with temperatures in the mid 20s across the eastern counties, giving a welcome boost for businesses reliant on summer tourism.
Stuart Lee, who owns dessert shop Waffle on Clacton along with his wife, hopes this will be the start of a warm and profitable summer.
“It has been very busy here today,” he said.
“There has been lots of sunshine and we are hoping that will continue over the rest of the weekend.
“The sun puts people in a good mood and gets them outdoors which is always good for a business close to the coast.”
He continued: “I certainly hope the summer will continue like this. It is a really good start so I hope it carries on.
“With the weather being like this it means we get people coming here from across Essex and even from Suffolk and as far as Norfolk.
“The weather is so important for tourism businesses so lets hope it stays sunny.”
Meanwhile in Ipswich, children splashed around in the play fountains as the council turned on the park's water fetaure for the first time in 2019 – just in time for the Easter weekend.
A worker at the park's Carte D'or ice cream stand said ti was the busiest she had seen the park in months.
“Once the water fountain goes on the park explodes,” she said.
“This warm weather is attracting so many more people – we've had to get extra stock in for the weather and with it being a bank holiday too. Times like this are great for the business.”
In East Anglia, tourism is said to account for 13% of employment.
The tourism sector was worth £373m to the Essex economy in 2015, up £26m from 2012 and employing approximately 6,000 people.
In Suffolk, tourism is one of the leading sectors worth around £1.9bn a year to the local economy.