Tourism boost brings more people to Ipswich town centre
- Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND
Tourists are bringing a much needed boost to Ipswich town centre post lockdown, say traders and cafe owners.
Cafes, shops and hotels say there has been an uptick in trade and the town is looking busier since Covid restrictions were officially lifted.
Russell Hill, who owns Café Myra in St Nicholas Street, said he has definitely noticed more people coming for staycations.
He added people "are getting back in" and school holidays definitely helped tourism.
Clive Driver, from The Blitz cafe, said it is really a destination place for those wanting a touristic experience in Ipswich.
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Mr Driver said: "Things are going alright. We have attracted an excess in tourists and hotels are quite full near us so we expect there to be tourists about."
Both Novotel and easyHotel in Ipswich have seen an increase in customers and have regularly been close to capacity.
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Novotel's Angisan Nuwan Jayasena said they usually cater to those on business trips but have seen an "unprecedented demand" for rooms and around a 10% rise in tourist bookings.
He added that Ipswich being named the 14th best up-and-coming tourist destination in the world in February 2020 has really helped.
Angela Grant, manager at easyHotel, said: "We've been really busy in the last two months.
"There has been a lot of construction work going on around Ipswich. It's good for the hotel and for the community."
Jane Watts, of Watts for Lunch, said as they are more focussed on the business crowd doing a quick lunch they've seen a different picture.
She said: "It's starting to get a bit better and really seeing the busy trade every day. We are not quite where we were before the pandemic.
"We are getting a lot more lunch orders from businesses."
Cathy Frost, from Love One, agrees there is starting to be a change. She said: "I can say it's a momentous change and I'm seeing people come back."
Katie Sawyer, manager of Jacey's, is really worried about the town centre however.
She said: "We have been really quiet. There are more places for people to go. When talking to customers going in the town they all say they go to Felixstowe now as its nicer."
Richard Podd, from On The Huh, agrees there are fewer shops and more hospitality but insists businesses should try events nights like music and poetry, which he is doing.
He has not really had anything to compare traffic now as he opened before lockdown.