'We can't blame the weather for loss of trade' says East Anglian tourist boss
PUBLISHED: 16:31 22 May 2019 | UPDATED: 16:31 22 May 2019
Tourism businesses need to become all-weather attractions and not blame the rain, snow or sun for lost profits, said the boss of two of the region's zoos.
Prof David Field, CEO of the Zoological Society of East Anglia, in charge at Banham Zoo and Africa Alive! was speaking at a seminar today to discuss the results of a major survey on members of the tourism, leisure and hospitality sector. This report findings were that businesses had found last year's diverse weather which saw 'too much rain, snow and sun' negatively affect trade - dubbed the 'Goldilocks effect.'
But Prof Field told this newspaper that tourism businesses needed to adapt better. "Last year saw eclectic weather, we are geared up for the rain and the cold but not for such hot weather that we saw in the summer. But we can't sit back and blame the weather, we know about the long term climate change and we have got to respond and become all-weather attractions.
"Perhaps I should have opened the zoo for breakfast and in the evenings during the summer rather than during the day-time, we need to look at ways of going forward, to develop our master plans."
Prof Field was speaking at today's seminar which officially revealed the findings of the MHA Larking Gowen Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Business survey. It found not only the weather affected trade but rents, staffing costs, business rates and product costs all put on pressure, leading to some casualities. Nearly a third of tourism businesses predicted profits to fall in 2019 and issues which caused the most concern included expensive legislation, 'red tape', terrorism and the state of the UK national economy. But the good news is that firms are still optimistic and see the need to invest.
Adam Goymour, company director at Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure, based at Lenwade, said it had invested around £4m into the business since 2016 only for last year to be 'the poorest performer.'
"Last year was not as good as 2017 or 2016, people want to pay the same so we couldn't increase our headline price which meant we had to really scrutinise our running costs to maximimse efficiency."
Today's event was held at the Barnham Broom hotel and there is another tomorrow at Kesgrave Hall, Suffolk starting at 1.30pm.
You can see the full survey by clicking here