Record year ahead for Suffolk tourism?
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Suffolk is bracing itself for a second record-breaking year of tourism, with 'staycations' becoming ever more popular with two holiday lettings firms.
More than 160 bookings for Suffolk holidays for 2016 were taken in one day alone last week by Aldeburgh-based travel firm Suffolk Secrets, which also saw a record number of 40,000 people take holidays to the county with them last year.
Adding to this is a record-breaking number of bookings having already been taken for January by holiday lettings agency Best of Suffolk, based in Badingham. According to figures provided by the firm, the number of bookings is already up by 35 per cent on the same point last year.
So far, coastal holidays in seaside towns such as Aldeburgh and Southwold are remaining popular. However, the Suffolk countryside and the historic wool towns of Lavenham, Long Melford and Bury St Edmunds also entice a substantial amount of interest.
Sales and marketing manager for Best of Suffolk, Lewis Lawson, said: 'We're so pleased that people are choosing Suffolk. Staycations are still very much alive and thriving.
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'Tourism contributes £1.8billion to the Suffolk economy a year and is an important source of employment in the county, so it's important to many individuals and businesses that it performs well.'
George Bradley, general manager at Suffolk Secrets, added: 'The offer in towns such as Woodbridge, Bury St Edmunds, Southwold and Aldeburgh is exceptional for shopping, sight-seeing, culture and food.
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'Perhaps historically, mainly the coast was popular, but we are seeing more and more visitors exploring the whole of the county.'
Amanda Bond, brand manager for Visit Suffolk, has just returned from a trade and consumer fair in the Netherlands to help promote Suffolk as a holiday destination.
'Suffolk is a county for all seasons, with extraordinary landscapes and a great food offering,' she said. 'The quality of our tourism offer, including accommodation, is second to none, with businesses continuing to invest year-on-year, helping us to stand out and compete well with the rest of the country.
'Anecdotally, the uplift in the self-catering sector has been unprecedented and a great boost to tourism in Suffolk. At a national level, self-catering accommodation ranks just third behind hotels and guest houses in popularity and growth.'
Last month, Suffolk was shortlisted for the title of holiday destination of the year in Countryfile Magazine Awards 2015/16 – the only county in England to be shortlisted.
It goes up against Snowdonia, Wales; Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland; Pembrokeshire, Wales and Causeway Coast and Glens, Northern Ireland, for the winning title.
To vote for Suffolk, visit http://www.countryfile.com/awards2015-16 before voting closes on January 31.