Busy weekend for tourism bosses

The unpredictable weather failed to put a dampener on the Easter weekend with tourism bosses celebrating a busy few days - and last night hoping it will kick-start yet another good holiday season.

The unpredictable weather failed to put a dampener on the Easter weekend with tourism bosses celebrating a busy few days - and last night hoping it will kick-start yet another good holiday season.

The Easter holidays are well under way and despite the unpredictable weather the region's tourism industry has reported good levels of visitor numbers.

Last year the “staycations” boomed in East Anglia, with people opting to find ways to fill their time closer to home as they tried to save the pennies.

And this year tourism bosses say industry is looking just as strong, with hoteliers reporting strong bookings, families arriving at holiday parks and scores of families already enjoying days out across the county.

Denise Thompson, a spokeswoman for Pleasurewood Hills, near Lowestoft, said: “We are really happy with the Easter opening and we hope to see many more visitors during the week while the children are on holiday from school.

“The catering departments on the park are pleased with the way the season has started and know that they will get busier as the season progress. Operations say that everything has gone according to plan and the retail shops have started off well.”

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From the picturesque broads to historical museums and theme parks, Norfolk is ideally located to capitalise on both people staying at home and travelling to the area looking for a unique holiday.

Michael Timewell, director of Blue Sky Leisure, which owns Kelling Heath, Woodhill Park and Zaks, said: “The Easter break is always a busy period and this year is no exception with visitors coming to Kelling Heath and Woodhill Holiday Parks in numbers.

“Early indications show that 2010 will see a resumption of last year's staycation effect with high demand for Norfolk and holiday park accommodation and touring and camping pitches, in particular.”

The largest collaborative campaign ever to promote the Broads as a leading UK tourism destination began in February when the Broads Authority joined forces with the Broads Tourism Forum to launch the Enjoy the Broads 2010 campaign.

And last week a countywide map which ties all the major outdoor activities into a single package became available.

Norfolk's virtues also became the focus of a World Class Normal for Norfolk campaign which was launched last year in a bid to attract thousands of new jobs.

Mark Noble, marketing manager of Pensthorpe Nature Reserve near Fakenham, said scores of families were already out and about and particularly enjoyed this year's Easter egg hunt.

“The Wensum Discovery tour also proved popular and provided cover when we did have some rain and our new hide down at the Wader Scrape was busy with visitors watching the goings-on at this popular part of the reserve,” he added.

“Even with the weather we had a lovely splash of colour around the reserve with the daffodils, blue bells and specimen tulips in the Wave Garden.

“It was nice to feel that buzz of people enjoying themselves after a long winter and here is to a great season ahead of us.”

Belinda Cammell from The Cliftonville Hotel in Cromer added the hotel had been fully booked over Easter weekend.

“It's a promising start to the holiday season of 2011,” she said.

Run out of things to do as the Easter holidays draw to a close? It's not too late to find those last minute distractions.

t Norfolk's longest Narrow Gauge Steam Railway is giving a free Easter egg to every child when accompanied by a fare-paying adult (maximum two children per adult) at the Bure Valley Railway.

An intensive train service will be operating from both Aylsham and Wroxham stations between April 2 and April 5.

Call 01263 733858, or visit www.bvrw.co.uk.

t Led by Steve Hammond and the Colney team, children will be able to take part in various activities throughout Colney Wood. The event is open to all children aged five and over when accompanied by an adult.

Call 01603 811556.

t Find out how the broads were formed between April 7 and April 16 by stepping back in time on the River Bure. Trips, run by the Broads Authority, will be held on a traditional broads boat.

Call 01603 756095, or visit www.borads-authority.gov.uk.

t Until April 9 at Holkham Hall people can excersise their minds at the Bygones Museum. There are two quizzes to enjoy, one for older children and adults, and one for smaller visitors.

Call 01328 170227, or visit www.holkham.co.uk.

t Try the wobbly assault course and other daring adventures at outdoor adventure park Bewilderwood.

Call 01603 783900, or visit www.bewilderwood.co.uk.