Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex: Third of tourism firms see profits fall

Horning on the Broads
Image caption Attractions for tourists in the East include the The Broads, where Horning in Norfolk is a main base

Nearly a third of businesses involved in tourism in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex have seen a fall in profits last year, a survey of 250 businesses found.

The survey, by MHA Larking Gowen, found the tourist industry in the East brings in £8bn a year to the local economy.

It also found 49% of firms saw revenue levels increase compared to the previous year, but 31% suffered a decrease in income.

Paul Milsom, of Milsom Hotels, said his firm had been hit by price rises.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Colchester Castle is a key attraction for visitors to the Essex town

"The big one has been business rates which have gone up for our type of business by 55% overnight. That is seismic," said Mr Milsom, whose hotels and restaurants are based in Essex and Suffolk.

"Also there have been [price] rises in light and power, food and wine, and National Insurance contributions and pensions."

The survey found 61% of businesses felt local government could help them more, with 57% feeling the drive should come from central government.

Image caption The scenery around Orfordness Lighthouse on the coast of Suffolk also attracts visitors

Chris Scargill, partner at MHA Larking Gowen, the accountancy firm which coordinates the annual survey, said: "In 2018, we continued to see the loss of swathes of the high street and the national restaurant chains.

"While, clearly, there have been mixed results, it really is quite tough out there."

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