Hoteliers in Skegness have reported encouraging booking figures in advance of the crucial Easter weekend, dispelling fears the poor weather had discouraged visitors.
With airlines expecting almost two millions Brits to flee the cold weather in pursuit of warmer climes, the domestic tourism market could face an uphill struggle.
But Skegness East Coast and Wolds Hospitality Association says many of its members’ rooms are booked up, with some reporting better figures than last year.
SECHWA chairman George Facey said: “The establishments I’ve been speaking to are quite positive about it all, a lot of them don’t have any vacancies, or only a room or two, so it’s pretty good, despite the weather.”
Mr Facey believes many of the holidaymakers come ‘irrespective of the weather’ because its a ‘great place to visit’
Following last year’s poor summer, however, he hopes the dismal March may be followed by a sunnier season to give the resort an extra boost.
“The previous two years have been hit and miss for a lot of business, so to start 2013 well leaves you with a good feeling that there’s something to look forward to,” he said.
Skegness and District Chamber of Commerce has echoed Mr Facey’s encouraging comments, which chairman Glenis Brown has partially attributed to an advertising targeting the West Midlands led by tourism leaders in the East Lincolnshire Destination Management Organisation.
“From the accents alone you can tell there’s been more enquiries and bookings,” she said.
Like Mr Facey, she hopes the positive signs during this important time can grow into a successful summer.
“If we can get a little sunshine, I think we are set for a good summer and that will put to rest a lot of the problems, because we are desperately in need of it,” she said.
With Easter’s position as the first major tourist event of the season, Mrs Brown says a profitable few days comes as a welcome end to the baron winter months and can support invesment in businesses for the forthcoming season.
“It’s the first money in the bank after a long dry spell, so if we get a good Easter it does help,” she said.
East Lindsey District Council, recognising the importance of an industry which generates almost half a billion pounds for the economy each year, is also keen to support a successful Easter period.
Communications team leader James Gilbert said: “The Easter weekend is the first really big, important weekend of the year and it’s an opportunity we need to help businesses to seize and make as successful as possible.
“It’s a challenging time with the weather, but the message we;ve been sending out is that Skegness and the whole east coast is open for business and we hope that as many families come to visit and enjoy the fantastic offer we have waiting for them.”