North West Norfolk MP James Wild has urged people to support the local tourism industry as businesses try to recover from the pandemic.
After a weekend tour of a number of West Norfolk attractions, Mr Wild said: “Now is the time to support local businesses and jobs that rely on tourism as we continue along the road to recovery.”
The MP was on the tourist trail as part of English Tourism Week. He met with business owners and talked to them about their investment in the industry.
“With our stunning coast, beaches, countryside, as well as many attractions, and great places to eat, North West Norfolk has so much to offer,” he said.
His visit took in Lynn Museum, Bircham Windmill, Rainbow Park at Hunstanton and Searles coastal resort.
Co-oordinated by VisitEngland, the week celebrates the industry, highlights its importance to the local economy and promotes the quality and range of products and services it has to offer.
Mr Wild was shown round Lynn Museum by Robin Hanley, of Norfolk Museums Service.
He saw the Horace the Indian tiger exhibit, learned about Frederick Savage’s innovation in steam-powered fairground rides and the potential to do more to promote Seahenge – an ancient Bronze Age timber circle discovered at Holme – with artefacts and displays at the museum.
At the family-run Bircham Windmill, Mr Wild climbed to the top of the mill and made bread in the bakery below.
In Hunstanton, he enjoyed funfair rides and attractions including the helter skelter which, along with the ferris wheel, was installed during lockdown.
Mr Wild also met businessman Paul Searle, managing director of Searles Leisure Resort, and talked about the company’s new investments at Heacham Manor.
The tourism agency’s latest forecasts show domestic tourism spending is estimated this year at £51.4 billion, up 51 per cent on last year, but still only a little more than half of the £91.6 billion spend in 2019.
A spokesman said last year an estimated two-thirds of the value was wiped off domestic tourism – a £58 billion loss to the economy.
“It was great to talk to some attractions and understand the steps they have taken to safely welcome visitors back,” Mr Wild said.
“People can come and enjoy everything on offer and do so responsibly by following the Covid guidelines.”
VisitEngland director Andrew Stokes said: “Our annual event to celebrate and champion English tourism has never been more important, providing a timely opportunity to show the outstanding offer here on our doorstep as we head in to the critical summer season and to support local businesses and visitor attractions, who have lost months of vital trading, as they re-open and rebuild.”