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Visitors flock to Kent thanks to heatwave

By Jenna Dobbs

Business is booming in Kent thanks to the recent heatwave, with more of us choosing to explore some of the county's best beauty spots.

Figures from Visit Kent show that visitors to coastal attractions are up a whopping 13% compared to June last year, with July figures predicted to be even more impressive.

The huge boost is thought to stem from the fact that more people are choosing to stay at home this summer, as temperatures on the continent soar to almost unbearable levels.

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Visitors enjoy the sunshine at Mote Park in Maidstone. Picture: Matthew Walker
Visitors enjoy the sunshine at Mote Park in Maidstone. Picture: Matthew Walker

Visitors to the county were up 5% overall compared to last June, while the number of trips to Kent's vineyards increased by a staggering 16%.

Sandra Matthews-Marsh MBE, chief executive of Visit Kent, has described the statistics as "incredible".

She said: "Whilst the tourism industry is very resilient, when we get a summer like this, it's a massive bonus and a boon to income.

"To see businesses thriving, busy and all the traders doing so well is really inspiring.

"Tourism industry professionals work really hard, they work when other people are relaxing.

"To see them thriving financially is wonderful, and of course, people who don't know the county discovering it for the first time in such glorious weather.

"I think 2018 will go down as a year that we will all talk about, and this will be beginning to impact on people's ideas for next year."

The Visit Kent business barometer has also shown that a lot of this year's tourism is home grown, with people visiting attractions on their doorstep.

International visitors are also on the rise, with the exchange rate in our favour, as the euro is worth around 25% more than it was a year ago - making Britain a very affordable place to visit.

Frazer Thompson, Sandra Matthews-Marsh and Michael Ellis at Kent vineyard Chapel Down during English Wine Week
Frazer Thompson, Sandra Matthews-Marsh and Michael Ellis at Kent vineyard Chapel Down during English Wine Week

Visit Kent has also been working hard to put the county's vineyards on the map, with the new Wine Garden of England campaign.

While for many farmers the hot weather has been devastating, local winemakers have been doing particularly well, with a lot of them expecting a bumper crop.

Extreme temperatures are set to cool off for the remainder of this week, but Met Office forecasters predict above-average temperatures will remain until October.

Other businesses attempting to cash-in on the hot spell include artificial grass company, Lazy Lawn.

The Kent-based business says it has seen a 30% increase in inquires compared to last July, as people attempt to rectify their yellow lawns.

Similarly, air conditioning company Synecore has experienced an increase in callouts, as people use their units to full capacity.

It says the problem is down to a lack of maintenance, as many archaic systems are being tested to their limits.

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