Why bad weather is good for tourism

By John Howard and James HoreTOURIST attractions across East Anglia have reported a good year for visitor numbers, despite a second year of poor summer weather.

By John Howard and James Hore

TOURIST attractions across East Anglia have reported a good year for visitor numbers, despite a second year of poor summer weather.

They said the fear of terrorism incidents in London had kept people in East Anglia, while the poor weather led to people deserting seaside beaches and turning to attractions that provided shelter from the elements.

Staff at the Museum of East Anglian Life, Stowmarket, said it had seen a greater number of visitors this year.

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Lisa Harris, collections manager, said: “I believe our figures are up on last year. I would not be surprised if the troubles in London kept people out of the capital and encouraged them to visit other local museums.

“Also, when the weather is really nice, people go to the beach, so the weather has helped us. We have also set up new attractions this year, including a nature trail. We are quite pleased, it has been a good year.”

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Richard Storer, owner of the Baylham House Rare Breeds Farm, near Needham Market, said it had had a better year than 2004.

“We rather like a cloudy, dry day. If it is too hot, people all go to the beach. We have found that we have done slightly better than last year for visitor numbers. It has been a reasonable summer, not superb,” he said.

David Tolliday, operations manager at Landguard Fort in Felixstowe, said it had seen similar visitor numbers to last year and had been helped by the poorer weather as people flocked to attractions away from the beach.

Events at the fort, including the VJ Day celebrations, also helped to boost visitor numbers and staff said they were already planning ahead by organising a special Victorian day to attract people during 2006.

A spokesman for Suffolk Coastal District Council said some attractions had suffered from the poor weather this summer, but in general it had been a fairly good summer for the area.

Barry Vaughan, manager of Walton Pier in Walton on the Naze, said the rainy weather meant people planning to visit the resort from places further afield, such as London, would often cancel their day out.

“If the rain does come down, then we get them on the attractions as the beaches clear, but then there are those who have been looking at the weather and have not bothered coming at all,” said Mr Vaughan.

“If the tide is in, then I have them on the pier and later in the afternoons as well, but August has not been too bad and we have been ticking over - I can't complain.”

Ken Blowers, East Anglian Daily Times weatherman, said both 2004 and 2005 had proved poor summers.

He added during June and July this year, when 412 hours of bright sunshine could be expected, there were just 302 hours.

Mr Blowers said August this year had mainly seen cloudy days and some rain on 13 days out of 26.

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