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Huge rise in Kent staycations

Holiday businesses have enjoyed a bumper summer - with a jump in “staycations”.

This is expected to fuel an estimated £90m injection into the Kent economy.

Figures released by VisitKent, the organisation that promotes the county as a great place for holiday breaks, has revealed that 810,604 people visited the county’s many attractions by the end of July.

That is a rise of 81,688 over the same period in 2008 and worth an extra  £3m in spending.

Visit Kent estimates that day trips to the county so far this year are up around 11 per cent, which it says could equate to almost £86.3 million in extra spend.

Sandra Matthews-Marsh, chief executive, said: “Kent has had a super summer and these figures go to show that tourism is a clear winner at supporting Kent in a speedier recovery from the recession.”

VisitEngland also reports that holiday trips taken by UK residents in England in the first six months of 2009 are up by 14 per cent, or 2.6m more than the same period a year ago.

East Kent hotelier Gavin Oakley said bookings for holidays and short breaks at his business Wallett’s Court Country House Hotel and Spa at Westcliffe, near Dover, and the White Cliffs Hotel at St Margaret’s, had been “well above expectations.”

“At the beginning of 2009 there was a lot of pessimism about the prospects for the UK’s tourism industry in the face of a vicious recession,” he said. “We were determined to confront this head-on and our hard work and dedication has certainly paid off. “

A large tipi installed in the grounds of Wallett’s Court to provide an unusual bedroom has been fully booked for months and two more are on order for next year.

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