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Bridport and West Bay boom thanks to Broadchurch and sunshine
BRIDPORT and West Bay have had a bumper summer with tourists flocking to the Bay and the historic market town – sharing a predicted £67 million income from tourism in Dorset during the August bank holiday week.
The season’s success might have started with the Broadchurch effect but traders, especially in West Bay, say the bonanza is because of the balmy weather.
Bank holiday saw visitor numbers soar with the temperature – estimates provided by the South West Research Company put the figures at more than a million visitors to the county spending £67, 690,397 during the peak summer week.
Day trips alone netted the county more than £17 million.
Coun Robert Gould, leader of West Dorset District Council, said: “It has been a wonderful summer for the tourism industry in West Dorset and we are really pleased to see the positive tourism figures for the area.
“We have had glorious weather for the most part which certainly helps, and the success of ITV’s Broadchurch has also had a dramatic impact on the number of visitors, especially to West Bay and Bridport.
“The district council manages the Visit Dorset tourism partnership alongside Weymouth & Portland Borough Council and the team has used the success of the drama to carry out a range of marketing campaigns. “We have also worked hard alongside the national tourist board, VisitEngland, to make the most of a multi-million pound national marketing campaign to encourage British holidaymakers to holiday at home.
“Tourism is an extremely important industry for the area and we will continue to look at ways to proactively promote our breathtaking region.”
Traders in West Bay have seen for themselves that it’s been a boom year.
John Kingston for works at Rachel’s Kiosk said: “Because the weather has been very good, it’s been very good down here.
“There are generally more people about. I think personally it’s down to the weather.”
Linda Sweet, who works at a gift and beach wear outlet by the harbour, said: “Compared with last year it’s been pretty busy the whole summer. Last year people didn’t even know we were here.
“This year has been a lot busier.
“At the start of the season it was ‘where’s the Broadchurch beach, where’s the police station?’ but now it’s more because the weather is so good.
“Broadchurch as much as it was successful, I think if you haven’t got the weather here there is nothing for the kids to do inside which is a big drawback.
“They need to build something indoors for them to do.”
Charter boat skipper Tom Marley , who helps his mum Tracey in the angling shop said the boats had been pretty average but trade at the shop had been good.
He said: “Everything down here is weather dependent, the shop, the boats the ice cream. It is literally that.”
Anne Turner at the ice cream kiosk added: “To start with there were coaches that came to do the Broadchurch tours and took loads of photos but mostly it’s the weather.
“This summer it’s been great for us.”
Frank Younghusband from the Dorset Pedlar gift shop said the year had been marginally better than last year but it was the sort of shop that did better in bad weather. Scott Condliffe of Freshwater holiday park and chairman of the Bridport and District Tourism Association said the recession was still biting and people were coming but were careful how much money they spent.
He said: “For us personally July was not particularly good but August has been really quite good but the recession is biting and people are being very careful with their money.
“Whereas in a good year they might come and stay with us two or three times in a year they have only come once this year.
“And in the bars particularly people are being very careful with what they spend.”
Billy Lintell, marketing manager of The Bull Hotel in East Street said it had been a brilliant season.
She said: “It has been the complete opposite from last year when the weather, the Olympics and the recession kept people away.
“It is probably a combination of the weather and the Olympics not being on and either the economy is picking up or people are bored of it and maybe there is a bit of Broadchurch effect.
“It is a definite different town this year and numbers are up.”
Daryl Chambers Bridport town surveyor said: “The market figures have been sky high and the numbers for park and ride are also very high.
“Everything from the food festival to the carnival has been very successful. Both Bridport and West Bay have been extremely busy.
“The biggest factor is definitely the weather but we do push the market and we have more music – we encourage buskers and a lot of towns don’t allow them.
“We try to promote Bridport as a day out.
“The whole ambience of the town has been fantastic all summer.” Martin Cox, who runs West Dorset Leisure Holidays, said: “The summer holiday period was an improvement on last year with more sunshine and I am sure the ‘heat wave’ during July will provide good memories for many visitors.
“After the disappointment of 2012, particularly with the poor weather and the impact of the Olympics, the memories of a good summer this year will hopefully help with bookings for 2014.
“Against the background of the economic climate which is still having an impact on our visitors I feel that we have had a reasonably successful season with good customer feedback and repeat business.
“Also, the good weather this week will encourage late bookings for the autumn which is important to the majority of tourism businesses.”
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