Tourism boom thanks to hot September

Hastings and St Leonards have seen a boom in tourism, thanks to the glorious Indian summer.

Hoteliers across town said they have had a bumper summer in the last few weeks with more visitors coming to 1066 Country.

The news comes as a relief to the town’s tourism trade following torrential rain on the August Bank Holiday.

Jim Norris, chairman of Hastings and St Leonards Tourism Association and owner of Apollo Guest House in Cambridge Gardens, said: “I have been in this business for 22 years and I would say this summer has been one of the best in the last six to seven years.

“We have had around 20 per cent more visitors staying at the guest house this September, compared to September last year, so this month has been brilliant.

“There are a lot more things going on in Hastings now and the town is on the up, there’s no doubt about that.

“We are getting a better clientele with more monied people coming to town and they expect a lot more, rather than the Kiss Me Quick brigade.”

Keith Challis, who, together with his wife Linda, owns the Jenny Lind in the High Street, said: “It would be fair to say that on many occasions over the last few weeks we have been full at weekends and had to farm out people wanting to stay here to other places. No one we know of has had the vacancies available.

“It’s most certainly been one of the busiest summers I have seen in my five years here.

“If hoteliers are doing well in Hastings it enhances all of the other local businesses because of the interesting products they sell, particularly in the Old Town.

“August Bank Holiday was a washout but without a shadow of a doubt the good September made up for that.”

Kevin Boorman, 1066 Country marketing manager, said: “We’ve had a brilliant late season here in 1066 Country, with many attractions and accommodation providers reporting a super September. The Hastings Seafood & Wine Festival provided a great fillip to local tourism businesses, and while many holiday destinations have now closed for the winter there’s still lots more to look forward to here.

“We have the 1066 Country Walking Festival, the Battle Arts & Music Festival, Wild Boar Week in Rye, and of course Hastings Week, all taking place in October, and the Hastings Herring Fair in November.

“All of these events depend on volunteers from the local communities, and we are very lucky here in 1066 Country to have so many willing helpers prepared to give up their time and help.

“It is no wonder that tourism is still such big business here.”