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Businesses urged to make their voices heard as survey launches to build regional snapshot of tourism in the region

Businesses urged to make their voices heard as survey launches to build regional snapshot of tourism in the region

Tourist focussed businesses across East Anglia are being invited to join forces to take advantage of the increase in domestic holiday bookings and those taking day trips or holidaying closer to home.

The Tourism Business Survey was launched today by chartered accountants and business advisers Larking Gowen in partnership with Visit East Anglia and supported by organisations such as Norfolk and Suffolk Tourist Attractions (NSTA).

All businesses in the tourism and leisure sector including restaurants, hotels, tourist attractions as well as retailers in the tourism hotspots are being encouraged to participate in the independent survey.

Participants have a unique opportunity to fill in the questionnaire and gauge their achievements. They can also receive a tailored report which analyses their yearly performance and gives them a valuable benchmarking planning tool.

Those who fill in the survey remain anonymous in the published report, which provides an annual snapshot of the tourism and leisure sector across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.

Celebrating its 11th year, the independent survey includes questions about the short and long term impact of last year’s Brexit vote as well as other issues affecting the sector including accessibility for disabled visitors.

The survey launch comes as confidence in the strength of the regional tourist and leisure economy is growing and post Brexit domestic holidays increase.

Visit East Anglia announced that Norfolk’s visitor economy topped £3 billion for the first time and nationally Visit Britain announced that the favorable exchange rate could see visitor spending increase by 8.1% (up to £24.1 billion) in 2017 from 2016. The tourism and leisure industry is worth around £7 billion to the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex (Office for National Statistics).

Historically, the survey forecasts have been extremely accurate – the statistics compiled are used by tourism organisations and decision makers such as Visit East Anglia. The final report is also sent to all MPs across the region to help inform their decisions about the regional tourist economy.

The published survey provides statistical analysis as well as features good news stories about participating businesses, who have chosen to publicise their successes.

Last year’s Tourism Business Survey (2016) revealed that 67% of the businesses participating in the survey saw increases of 6% or more on their turnover for 2015 and the predictions for 2016 were positive.

Chris Scargill, Larking Gowen’s Tourism & Leisure Partner, is proud to publish the only independent tourism business survey in the region. Mr Scargill is pleased that a variety of businesses across the sector are continuing to engage in the survey and particularly urged retailers who operate in popular tourist destinations across Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex to participate this year.

“There is a lot of good anecdotal evidence in the tourist sector but this survey provides an opportunity to mark the current trends with a series of valuable statistics. The survey highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the industry as well as its economic benefits to the region. It is not only an important awareness tool used by key decision makers, tourism organisations and government both local and national, but it can also support participants to create tailored business development plans and provides a benchmarking tool to see how they compare year on  year.”

Pete Waters executive director of Visit East Anglia said: “The Tourism Business Survey is an invaluable barometer of how the visitor economy is performing. It highlights issues, and supports our business planning. Crucially, the more businesses which participate in the survey the better and the more authoritative the data.”                 

Martin Dupee, chairman of Norfolk and Suffolk Tourist Attractions (NSTA), and director of operations at Banham Zoo and Africa Alive, who urged those connected with domestic tourism to take the opportunity to have their views heard, said: “I look forward to participating in and seeing the annual tourism survey report as it gives me a handle on how the industry is not only performing but also where confidence is going forward.  These are interesting times for us all and, it is my view, that this is the time for domestic tourism to reap the benefits of the uncertainty.”

Participate in the survey at To obtain a free copy of last year’s survey please go to or email

Article by MHA Larking Gowen

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