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Easter bank holiday brings bumper boost for North Devon businesses

By NDJPeter  |  Posted: April 22, 2014

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BUSINESSES across North Devon have experienced a bumper weekend, with the good weather leading to a surge in visitor numbers.

Several businesses have reported record footfall figures for the Easter bank holiday, with the positive weather forecasts seeing hundreds of families making the last minute decision to travel to the region.

Rick Turner, who runs The Big Sheep and Atlantis Adventure Park, said the bank holiday weekend had been record breaking for the two attractions.

He said: “We have experienced a record number of locals and tourists visiting us over the Easter period and have seen a 28% increase on footfall from previous years.

“With numbers beating last year’s record, if we can get some warmer and sunnier weather then there is no reason why we should not expect an increase in numbers during the summer.”

The positivity was shared by Geoff Hocking, who runs Hocking’s Ice Cream.

Crediting the good weather forecast, he said: “It brought an unusually high number of visitors in and they were all keen to enjoy North Devon. Really there was a bit of a buzz about the place.

“I always think that if somebody comes down here early in the year and they have a good time it bodes well further on.”

For the Milky Way, which is celebrating its 30th year in business, the Easter bank holiday provided an opportunity to show off their recently completed children’s play area and brand new set of outdoor equipment.

Partner Tara Stanbury said she had seen an influx of new visitors over the break.

“It has been amazing, it has been a fantastic start to our 30th anniversary season,” she said. “It’s really nice to show off our new facilities.

“We always get a lot of repeat business but we have seen a lot of new people with young children.

“Even in the first two weeks we have seen a massive uptake in season tickets.”

Also offering visitors a new attraction was the Museum of British Surfing in Braunton.

Museum founder Peter Robinson said although the weather played less of a role in their Easter success, they had also seen record visitor numbers - with tourists making dedicated visits from as far afield as Australia and Hawaii.

He said: “The new exhibition has proved really popular. Actually I think it’s proving to be our most popular exhibition yet.”

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