Early Easter & what it means for the South West tourism industry
Businesses in the South West tourism sector, which supports 180,000 jobs, are bracing themselves for the impact of an early Easter.
This year Good Friday falls on March 30 and the early holiday has a major impact on those businesses that bring thousands of people into and out of the region. Hotels, holiday parks, tourist attractions and travel experts are already making provision for the early break.
Bakers Dolphin, which has been providing holidays for people in the region for over 126 years, says that people need to book quickly if they want to get their first choice of Easter break.
Sales and Marketing Director, Amanda Harrington, said: “The Easter break traditionally heralds the start of the tourism season, and is often one of the busiest weekends of the year.
“Even though this Easter is early, we are confident it will kick-start a strong season, so it’s important to remind people to not rest on their festive laurels if they are hoping to get away, and to book now.
“With the ongoing economic climate ensuring that staycations remain popular, we’ve added some very exciting new Easter getaways to our existing extensive range of short breaks.
“With Easter being earlier than usual, people have a little less time to make their travel plans, so we would advise them to book sooner rather than later, to avoid disappointment, and to help them banish the post-festive blues by having a nice break to look forward to.”
Like many organisations within the tourism industry, Bakers Dolphin is hoping for a good year in 2018, as holidays in Britain remain value-for-money, because of the pound performance against the Euro.
The exchange rates also make independent travel abroad more expensive, so that the best deals can be achieved through travel firms with fixed costs, all-inclusive deals and their buying power.
Said Amanda Harrington: “Because we buy hotel rooms in large quantities all over Europe, we get better deals than people can achieve for themselves simply looking for a bargain on the internet. For most destinations when you add up all the costs of booking independently packages are much better value.”
Catering to holidaymakers and locals staying in the South West, the Grand Pier at Weston-super-Mare is one of the region’s most popular and well known tourist attractions, pulling in thousands of visitors over key bank holiday weekends.
Co-owner Michelle Michael said: “Although an early Easter is a tricky one, as it usually means that people haven’t yet fully recovered from the Christmas spending, we are gearing up to offer our customers more than ever before to help combat this.
“There’s a host of exciting new things happening on the Pier and we’re even hoping to showcase some brand new Virtual Reality rides in time for Easter. We’ve recently revamped our Tiffany’s and Sundaes food outlets which will mean a new experience for visitors and all areas of the Pier will be open for people to enjoy.
“In the coming months we have even more new developments for everyone to look forward to, including a programme of exclusive treats for Grand Pier Members. Member treats can be anything from Free Soft Play which we’re running in February to the free Easter Egg offer we will be running from Good Friday until Easter Sunday.
“Weather will be a factor in visitor numbers over the break – great weather will mean flocks of people so we need to be prepared. Having said that we’re guaranteed to be busy over the actual four day bank holiday, no matter what the weather or the date, as people gravitate to the seaside on bank holidays to enjoy the atmosphere and buzz.
“Further plans in place include our continued daily offers for our annual pass members on retail, food and drink and events. We also run a Kids Eat Free offer in our main outlets which means that our overall offer is a great value day out. Anyone enjoying the rides on the Pier will also be able to take advantage of the unlimited rides wristband for adults and children throughout the holiday period.”
Another Somerset tourist attraction Wookey Hole Caves, is taking impressive steps to ensure a good Easter break by extending their Easter offering to three weeks from the end of March until mid-April.
Daniel Medley, general manager at Wookey Hole Caves, said: “Because of the early Easter this year and with school holidays in different regions being spread over a three week period, we’ve decided to extend our offering.
“During school holidays we always increase our activity, with additional attractions and fun for visiting families, so this Easter we will be offering this between 23 March and 15 April. This Easter each child will receive a special treat and we’re putting on daily Easter Circus Shows.
“Our visitors come from all over the UK and beyond, so we don’t want anyone to miss out because all the dates vary. Our visitors come first so if it means we have to increase our staffing levels and make arrangements to extend holiday offers, we want to do that.”