LYME Regis has received an unexpected tourism boost after being voted as having the second-best beach activity in the world.
In a survey conducted by renowned travel website |virtualtourist.com, and reproduced in media publications in Canada and USA, fossil hunting on the beaches of Lyme Regis beat competition from Australia and Cuba to be named second, with snorkelling off the Philippines finishing first.
The good news comes on the back of two good weekends for local businesses as tourists flock to the town during the unseasonably warm weather, with local tourism expert Doug Goodman, pictured right, predicting an increase in tourism for the town following the survey.
Mr Goodman said: “Lyme has always been recognised as one of the best places in the United Kingdom to go fossil hunting, particularly with all the experts in the area who do a lot to promote the fossil hunting.
“Local shop owners should be prepared for a lot of Canadian and American tourists this summer.
“Any survey that is positive is going to encourage people to come to the town, especially those who might be a bit undecided.
“So much is being said about people staying at home for holi days and we know that a lot of North Americans visit Europe for a holiday.
“There is so much tradition in the UK and South West, and in Lyme Regis, and they seem to love that.
“If the weather continues like this we are in for a great summer.”
Preparations for the upcoming summer season are well under way in the town, with restaurants and hotels changing their menus and shops refilling their shelves with summer stock.
Tony Colston, chairman of the Lyme Regis Business Group, said: “Any positive PR, like being voted second-best beach activity has a potential benefit to the town. It is fabulous that it has been recognised internationally.
“What we have here is unique. Fossil hunting on the beach is something families can do togeth er that is both fun and educational all together at the same time and, given the effect of the bad weather, potentially there should be some good fossils out there.”
Manager of the tourist information centre Lorraine Knowles said enquiries were already being made by tourists who are planning a visit to the town.
She said: “We are optimistic we will have a good summer. We had a really busy summer last year and it will hopefully be repeated this year.
“We have already had quite a lot of enquiries for accommodation for Easter, and we are giving out a lot of advice for people who are planning fossil walks.
“Being voted second is great and is really good for the town.”