A ‘super summer’ for tourism in West Norfolk
Civic and business leaders have hailed a strong summer for the tourism industry as West Norfolk cashed in on the long spell of hot and dry weather.
Despite a disappointingly cool and wet Bank Holiday weekend, many sites have reported higher demand and popular indoor attractions’ visitor numbers appear to have held up.
Nick Skerritt, owner of the King William IV pub in Sedgeford, said the level of summer trade had been a welcome boost following a difficult winter.
He said: “It has been a super summer. We have been nicely busy with a 95 per cent room occupancy rate.
“June, July and August have been very busy which is good because this makes up for our shocking March when we were hit with the snow.”
Carrie Carey, visitor experience manager at the RSPB Titchwell Marsh reserve, said they had also seen a three per cent increase in visitor numbers, despite it being a quiet time of year in terms of bird migration patterns.
She said: “We have seen an influx of our post-family non-bird audience who have been coming to the reserve to connect with nature, go on one of our walks, enjoy the fresh air and enjoy a cake and coffee.
“It has been more retired or semi-retired visitors from around our area who have been travelling up to our reserve for a visit rather than holiday-goers.”
Several weeks of hot weather in June and July drove the increased demand at tourist hotspots, though it also led to increased pressure on the fire service and coastal rescue teams who recorded record numbers of incidents.
One site which might also have been grateful for slightly cooler conditions in recent weeks is the Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary, though officials say their audience has held up.
Operations manager Nathan Barnett said: “As we are an indoor attraction, the hot weather usually takes people out of the centre and onto the beach.
“The weather change in the past few weeks with the showers of rain has brought more people inside. We have definitely noticed an increase in our popularity over the past few weeks.
“Although we are busier when there are some showers, we are still trading well and the sunshine has not made much of an inpact on our trade.”
Town mayor Amanda Bosworth added: “I suspect businesses should be quite happy following our sunny summer.
“The sun does bring people out of their homes and therefore they should be spending more money in and around our town.
“There has also been so much to enjoy in Hunstanton this summer. It has been really nice to see so many people out in our town, out and enjoying themselves.
“There has been some really lovely pictures on Facebook of Hunstanton’s sunsets as well. All the pictures I’ve seen show different looking sunsets, they are a wonderful sight.”