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Business booms as tourists flock to enjoy sunshine in Lyme Regis
BUSINESS has boomed this summer across Lyme Regis as thousands of tourists flocked to the town to enjoy the summer sun.
Met Office statistics show the summer has been the hottest and driest since 2006, and with the temperature being warmer by 0.8C on the average, it should rate in the top ten of summers since records began in 1910.
Figures released by West Dorset District Council predicted visitors would spend £67million in the county over the August Bank Holiday week.
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 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.”
Manager of the Lyme Regis Tourist Information Centre, Lorraine Knowles, said there was an increase of nearly 2,000 more people going into the tourist centre on last year’s figure of 12650.
She said: “It has certainly felt a lot busier than last year and the weather always helps with that, plus the number of events the town has had also attracts people.
“There have been quite a lot of last minute bookings with people not fully trusting the weather, and not deciding until the middle of the week they want to come down at the weekend.”
Director of Lyme Regis Museum, David Tucker, said the number of visitors to the museum had also increased by 20 per cent to 4,850.
Mr Tucker said: “I think after last year we are doing very well, like a lot of Lyme Regis.
“Last year was quite bad because not only did we have appalling weather but also the Olympics was on and the Diamond Jubilee, so a lot of people stayed at home.
“We are still seeing the impact of the recession with people not spending as much, but it is a healthy increase of people.”
Tony Colston, chairman of the Lyme Traders association, said he was relieved the town had been so busy this holiday season.
Mr Colston said: “It’s safe to say it’s been a very busy summer, a definite improvement on the last couple of summers.
“After a couple of bad summers I am relieved to say the least this one has been so good, attendances at events such as the carnival have been very good, so Lyme Regis has had a very good summer.”
Coun Lorna Jenkin, vice-chairman of the Tourism and Economic Development Committee at Lyme Regis Town Council, said: “This year has been a superb one so far in terms of visitor numbers, largely brought in by the fantastic events the resort offers, and in no small part by the good weather we have experienced.
“Aside from the numerous events, Lyme Regis continues to offer tourists a friendly and welcoming experience and this is what encourages them to return year after year.
“The season certainly isn't over yet and the town council, accommodation providers, volunteers and traders are working together to ensure that the resort will flourish for the rest of the year.”
Traders see rise in footfall
Business owners and traders in the town have seen a big increase in the amount of people coming into the town this summer.
Julie Gravili, co-owner of Antonio’s Trattoria Italian restaurant in Lyme Regis, said: “Compared to last year we have done very well, I would imagine double.
“I’d say I am quite relieved that it has been busy this summer, because if the customers are not here we can’t be here.
“There have been a lot of families on holiday who have dined with us, and there has been a lot of Europeans who have come in here as well which is very nice.”
Assistant manager at The Mariners Hotel, Les Glover, said he had also noticed an improvement in business this year, not just at the hotel, but in the whole town. He said: “We have been consistently fully booked this year, with a lot of people leaving it until the last minute.
“The town has had a very good summer. It has been very full and sometimes you just couldn’t move in the town due to the people and the traffic.”
Mark Dridge, general manager of the Royal Lion Hotel in Broad Street, said they were fully booked a lot more than they had been in previous years.
He said: “We have done well when compared to last year’s results. The weather and the festivals which were put on have been very advantageous this year and weekends are normally fully booked, but there have been more cases of the hotel being fully booked in the week as well.”