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Tourism will boom if we 'stay positive'

PUBLISHED: 17:35 31 July 2008 | UPDATED: 11:29 03 July 2010

MOVING ON: Elly Koopman and Rob Farrow are leaving the B&B industry in Yarmouth.

MOVING ON: Elly Koopman and Rob Farrow are leaving the B&B industry in Yarmouth.

Laura Bagshaw

GREAT Yarmouth's tourism industry will boom once again, so long as locals maintain a positive outlook on the town.

That's the view of Elly Koopman and Rob Farrow who yesterday handed over the keys to bed and breakfast No 78 after spending almost two years in the holiday business.

Laura Bagshaw

GREAT Yarmouth's tourism industry will boom once again, so long as locals maintain a positive outlook on the town.

That's the view of Elly Koopman and Rob Farrow who yesterday handed over the keys to bed and breakfast No 78 after spending almost two years in the holiday business.

The couple have decided to call it a day due to family commitments, but they leave the resort with their

heads held high at a job well done.

Elly, 27, and Rob, 37, purchased the Marine Parade bed and breakfast Haven Hotel in November 2006 and following a major makeover, created a sleek, contemporary looking accommodation which was featured on TV in the Hotel Inspector.

For Elly and Rob, the typical seaside bed and breakfast conjures up images of hanging baskets, flowery wallpaper and cups and saucers and while they have nothing against that, the couple said they wanted to add to the mix of accommodation in the town.

And the modern bed and breakfast attracts a variety of guests. “We get young people on their first holidays stay here but we also have a couple in their 70s and they love it,” said Elly.

“The feedback we get from our guests is that it's like being at home and that's what we wanted,” added Rob.

It was by sheer fluke that the couple were featured on the Hotel Inspector as Elly explained.

“I was on the internet looking for books about how to run a successful B&B but was not having much luck. I came across this questionnaire and filled it in. Later that afternoon I got a call from the filming company asking if they could come and do a screen test.”

Filming began in February 2007 and the episode was shown later that year.

Earlier this year No 78 was revisited and Elly and Rob were keen to respond to criticism that the programme showed Yarmouth in a bad light.

Elly said: “We don't feel the programme gave Yarmouth a negative image at all. In fact it showed people just how much the town has changed. So many older people visit Yarmouth today who came to the resort when they were children and they can't believe how it's changed.”

She said being featured on the programme had not resulted in a mass surge of bookings but it had thrown them into the spotlight.

Elly said she had always dreamed of running a hotel and the couple, who met while working together at Robinsons drink factory in Norwich, jumped at the chance when Rob was made redundant.

“The nicest thing is now we are established we are getting repeat trade and that's how you measure yourself in this industry,” said Elly.

The four star bed and breakfast, which has eight rooms, is to be featured in the 2009 Michelin Guide and is one of only a handful of accommodation providers in the region in the book.

Elly added: “The tourist industry is fragile but if people stay positive and believe they can make a difference the town will boom.”

The couple are looking at options - Elly still in the tourism business.

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