Sunny Easter boosts Sidmouth trade and tourism

A SUNNY Easter weekend brought tourists and shoppers into Sidmouth town centre.

A SUNNY Easter weekend brought tourists and shoppers into Sidmouth town centre.

Annette Cole, deputy director for South West Tourism, said �63 million was spent in Devon over the weekend, with the region accommodating 570,000 staying visitors, although 40 per cent of cash spent came from day visitors.

She said: "It certainly was very busy, the weather made a huge difference and was a big bonus.

"Because of the recession a lot of people are doing things that don't cost them money.

"Places like Sidmouth and Branscombe are ideal as they have coastal paths which people can walk along for free."

Richard Eley, chairman of Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce said: "Business in Sidmouth town centre's retail shops is weather dependent, so business was poorer in January because the weather was so atrocious.

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"Since the second week in February business has improved because of the marvellous spell of weather we have enjoyed."

He said prospects for the summer "are good, because the long-range forecast is good."

Trevor Roberts, managing director of Fields of Sidmouth, said extra staff had to be drafted into Monday's Child shop on Good Friday because of the influx of shoppers.

"Weather has played a huge part in the number of visitors, as you would expect," he said.

"I certainly feel if we have a decent summer after the dismal ones of the past two years, it bodes well for tourism within the West Country in particular and we as retailers hope to benefit as well."

Easter Saturday was also busy for the store, leaving him "very satisfied with the weekend."

Keith Knight of Knights, Fore Street, said: "The weather was almost too nice for people doing shopping. Trade was not too bad, but I wouldn't say brilliant."

Ian Cole, manager of Sidmouth Information Centre, was kept busy with a rise in numbers seeking accommodation.

"Certainly Easter weekend brought a lot of people. There was a lot of interest in the Jurassic Coast and a lot are walking the Coast Path in both directions," he said.

Annette Witheridge, secretary of Sidmouth and District Hospitality Association, said she was kept busy at the Salty Monk, Sidford, which she runs with husband Andy, despite forecasts of bad weather for the weekend.

"The town was really buzzing, which is good for Sidmouth.