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Greater Yarmouth - not just for summer!

On set at the filming of Great Yarmouth's new TV advertTourism leaders at Great Yarmouth are upbeat about the coming season – buoyed by strong bookings, investment and a continued “staycation” boom.

The optimism comes as the resort launches a new TV advertising campaign showing a mother and daughter enjoying a shoulder season seaside break – highlighting the range of things to do and see in the area.

The 30 second commercial features them walking on the beach and picnicking in the dunes, enjoying a boat ride and afternoon tea on the Broads, having a flutter at the horse racing, brushing up their painting skills with an art lesson, relaxing in a spa, shopping, and sipping cocktails.

It is part of the ongoing campaign by the Greater Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area to attract more visitors and spending power to the area to benefit the local economy.

Last year marketing efforts – including TV, radio, and national newspaper online sites - were focused on the East Midlands, with adverts seen more than 4.6m times. This year the focus in on the Essex, Bedfordshire, Buckingham and Hertfordshire areas.

The group’s chairman Gareth Brown said: “Great Yarmouth continues to be one of the UK’s most popular holiday resorts, but we are keen to show there is more to the area than its famous seafront and that it’s an ideal location for an early summer break in May and June.”

He is also general manager of Haven’s Caister Holiday Park and said the company was seeing further increases in early bookings over last year’s record season, which was very encouraging.

Hotels, guest houses and holiday parks are reporting bookings ahead of this time last year at the resort town and surrounding villages – and tourism chiefs are also buoyed by a raft of major investment, plus a good long range weather forecast.

Nick Mobbs, director at the Imperial Hotel at North Drive on Great Yarmouth’s seafront said: “Our advance bookings are higher than we would expect at this time of year. We are feeling confident.”

Gary Smith, who owns the five-bedroomed Kilbrannan guest house in Trafalgar Road with wife Julie, reported record early bookings, which were boosted by the amount of things to do – from theatres to the Maritime, Out There and bowls festivals.”

GREATER YARMOUTH TOURISM IN NUMBERS (latest figures 2015 analysis)
• Total trips: 6.6m
• Day trips: 5.6m
• Staying trips: £1m
• Visitor spend: £446,289,398
• Tourism value (including indirect spend): £591,314,398
• Jobs: 11,736 (33.5pc of all employment)
• Trips: 85pc holiday, 9pc business
• Spending: 32pc food and drink, 23pc shopping, 18pc accommodation

INVESTMENT HIGHLIGHTS
Pleasure Beach – New £5m plus, 200-job scheme for a hotel, casino, restaurants and cinema and three new rides costing £500,000.
Parkdean - £800,000 on new caravans at the Vauxhall Holiday Park. Sixteen new caravan and lodge plots and £500,000 accommodation upgrade at Summerfields Holiday Park, Scratby.
Richardsons –New mini golf, indoor archery and rifle shooting, at Seacroft Holiday Village, Hemsby. Extra caravans at the neighbouring Hemsby Beach Holiday Park.
Star Hotel -Two-phase £650,000 revamp of the landmark town centre hotel by new owners who say it has potential for functions and weddings.
Lacon Arms, Hemsby - Major extensions including a 50-seater garden room for year-round dining bringing investment in the pub since 2009 to about £1m.
Prom Hotel - An extra 12 bedrooms are being added, driven by rising demand from the offshore wind farm industry. A fitness centre is planned next year.
Camplings – New £5m laundry, creating another 10 jobs, for a family business which has cleaned the bedsheets and tablecloths of the tourism industry since 1870.
Hollywood Cinema – Rejuvenation plans by the Jay family including a glass-clad restaurant and cinema upgrade for the Victorian former Royal Aquarium.
Travelodge - New 68-bedroom hotel, restaurant and drive-through Costa coffee and Burger King outlets on former Pasta Foods warehouse site.
Garden walk gateway - A £2m scheme to breathe new life into the pedestrian and cycle route between Vauxhall Railway station and the Market Place.