Sunny half-term proves 'shot in the arm' for Suffolk tourism

Crowds flocked to Felixstowe to soak up the sun on Bank Holiday Monday. Picture:Sarah Lucy Brown

Crowds have flocked to the coast to soak up the sun this week - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The sunny weather in Suffolk this half-term has proved a real benefit for coastal businesses, giving a much-needed booster at the start of the summer season, according to businesses and tourism leaders. 

Pete Waters of Visit East Anglia. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Pete Waters of Visit East Anglia. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

"Just like the vaccine jab, this week’s great weather has been a real shot in the arm for tourism," said Pete Waters from Visit East of England. 

"The industry isn’t out of the woods yet, so we really hope that this good weather continues and keeps visitors coming through to the end of the year.

"June 21 is a crucial date for the sector. Currently, while we’re seeing lots of visitors, businesses are still operating at less than capacity.

"If we get the final restrictions lifted later this month then it will be a huge fillip for tourism."

Hannah Wright, town development manager for Southwold, said people are interested in buying property on the Suffolk coast...

Hannah Wright town development manager for Southwold - Credit: Archant

Hannah Wright, town development manager for Southwold, said that it had been a busy week in the town. 

"The weather has been welcome for business," said Mrs Wright. 

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"All of the holiday homes are pretty much full. We have definitely got that guaranteed footfall. 

"It's just having an immense positive impact. They are coming in and enjoying the beach. 

"It's been definitely been a positive start to what will hopefully be a good summer." 

Susie Medland of Munchies, Aldeburgh said the summer was good but she fears for the winter season P

Susie Medland said it had been an amazing week in Aldeburgh - Credit: Charlotte Bond

“It’s been amazing,” said Susie Medland from Munchies in Aldeburgh. 

"The people are so happy. It's lovely. 

"Bank holiday weekend was a bit crazy, it was out of the blue. 

"Once we got used to it, it was fine. We are very busy. 

"Nobody is leaving the country so they are hitting the beaches." 

Ms Medland said the upturn in the weather and the visitors numbers has been incredibly important. 

"We needed this. We all needed this," said Ms Medland. 

"We had all the grants and everything but it doesn't cover what we actually need. 

"We definitely paid the rent this week."

The good weather has also brought out the crowds in Felixstowe. 

Stan Harris, owner of Ocean Boulevard amusements in Felixstowe.

Stan Harris, owner of Ocean Boulevard amusements in Felixstowe. - Credit: Archant

Stan Harris, who owns Ocean Boulevard rides and amusements on Felixstowe seafront, said the fabulous weather over the Bank Holiday weekend, particularly Monday, was great for his business.

“It feels like things are really on the up,” said Mr Harris, who has opened new Pirate Bumper Boats and Beach Buggy rides since lockdown.

“Lots of people are coming to Felixstowe for the first time, they seem to be coming earlier and spending the day and telling us they will come again.

“That, along with the good weather, gives me the optimism to continue investing for the future and I think that is true of other businesses in the resort, too.”

"We have just come through the worst 15 months for the hospitality trade in our long experience but the sunshine finally arriving for the bank holiday weekend and half-term and was a very welcome boost," said Julie Yeo, of Yeo Group Ltd, which owns The Alex Café Bar and Brasserie on the seafront,

“We hope it will give the people of Felixstowe, and visitors alike, a chance to enjoy some al fresco refreshment this summer.”

Sheline Gledhill, manager of the Felixstowe BID, said the sunshine gave the whole resort a lift.

“It is wonderful to see Felixstowe come back to life, and we are hopeful for a long, hot summer to give local businesses the boost they need.

“Having been cooped up for so long, it is no surprise that local families and visitors alike are enjoying the fresh air and the chance to rediscover our seafront, gardens and shops. Our hope is that Felixstowe becomes Suffolk’s number one destination this summer."

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