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Holidaymakers help save leisure industry

PUBLISHED: 10:24 30 September 2009 | UPDATED: 15:10 03 July 2010

Holidaymakers who opted to stay in the UK rather than travel abroad have helped save the leisure business in Norfolk's biggest resort from the worst ravages of the recession.

Holidaymakers who opted to stay in the UK rather than travel abroad have helped save the leisure business in Norfolk's biggest resort from the worst ravages of the recession.

A snap survey of clients by the Great Yarmouth office of accountants and business advisers, PKF, found that many in the tourist and retail business had enjoyed as good a summer season as last year, if not better.

“It has been a delicate balancing act, swings and roundabouts,” said regional managing partner Michael Muskett. “Obviously the recession meant there was less money around and a fear for the future of some of our holiday businesses.

“But predictions that more people would come to places like Yarmouth to avoid the hassle, poor exchange rates and added cost of trips abroad seem to have been fulfilled. And it has kept the town solvent.”

Paul Garrod, who runs the Furzedown Hotel, said their 50th year was proving to be one of the better ones with business up on previous summer seasons. Many more people were opting for short or weekend stays rather than week-long breaks.

At the Imperial Hotel, Aileen Mobbs said it had been very busy but final figures were likely to be about the same because of the counter-balance of the recession.

She said: “We have welcomed a lot of visitors who have never been to Yarmouth before and even some guests who usually go to the Caribbean - and they've really enjoyed it.”

Rodney Scott, co-proprietor of Gorleston's Pier Hotel and Yarmouth's Pub and Hotel on the Prom, was upbeat about trade in the summer season which had exceeded their expectations. But he was concerned about the current parking problems near Gorleston Pier which meant he was now delaying further investment.

Parking issues in Yarmouth were a concern for Stephen Docwra, of Docwra's confectioners and rock makers. “Despite a good start in July, our trade was not up in the prime season because there was nowhere for visitors to stay and day trippers were put off by the parking problems and prohibitive costs. Many customers mentioned it,” he said.

George Pieri, at Wrights Restaurant, felt business was on a par with last year. He was concerned at how the town emptied out from 5pm with people going back to caravan and holiday parks.

At the Seafood Restaurant, Miriam Kikis said the economy meant that business was no better than last year. “We've certainly broken no records. Hopefully next year we'll be out of recession and the new outer harbour will have made some impact,” she said. “I'd also like to see stronger and more effective marketing of the town.”

Michael Cole, owner of Joyland, said business was up on the last three years and the weather encouraged short-stay visitors and day trippers.

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