Tourism in Surrey is set for a bumper summer with holiday enquiries up 55 per cent thanks to an increase in visitors attracted by the Olympics, according to industry experts.
Diana Roberts from Guildford Tourist Information Centre pointed towards early hotel bookings and a flow of phone enquires as positive signs.
She said: “We’re expecting it to be a big year for tourism in Surrey. The number of accommodation and tourism enquiries we receive has been rising steadily since last year.
“We had 55 per cent more enquiries in January and February compared to the same period last year and visits to our website were also up 34 per cent.”
“Our Visit Surrey brochure is available as a free iPhone app*. Downloads in the first week of its release came from Russia, Australia, Canada and the USA to name a few. As a result, one of our bed and breakfasts has a three week booking from Russia during the Olympics.”
Surrey County Council has been working to persuade Olympic and Paralympic teams to base themselves in the county before and during the Games. So far 23 teams have signed up which has swelled hotel bookings.
Jane Standing, general manager at Holiday Inn Guildford, said: “We’re already benefiting from pre-Games training camps with bookings from the beginning of May to mid July up by 38 per cent against the same time last year. We’re hoping to see more bookings during the Games over the next few months as we launch our advertising campaign.”
Around one million spectators are expected to line the streets of Surrey to watch the Olympic cycling road race and time trial events taking place in the county.
Denbies Wine Estate plans to spread merriment and cheer to the thousands of people expected to converge on and around Box Hill by hosting the Surrey Hills Road Race Festival on the opening weekend of the Games (28-29 July).
Jeannette Simpson, Denbies assistant general manager, said: “We’re expecting a large number of visitors to be from out of the area so it’s a chance to showcase Surrey produce and heritage to the world.
“People will be able to taste our wine, a variety of beers and feast on farm produce while watching the rest of the race on a big screen. The idea is for the festival to become an annual event.”
Surrey County Council has been holding a series of workshops which cover how businesses can benefit from pre-Games training camps, increased visitor numbers and how to successfully bid for 2012 contracts.
Helyn Clack, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services and the 2012 Games, said: “We have another workshop on March 28 and I would urge business people to come along and find out how they can make the most of the Games. Surrey firms have won more than £740 million worth of London 2012-related contracts and there are still lots of opportunities to be had.”
The workshop on 28 March will be held at The Orangery, Littleton House, Shepperton Studios, Middlesex TW17 0QD from 8am to 10am.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
For more information, journalists can contact Surrey County Council media officer Nicole Herlihy on 020 8541 8039 or email email@example.com
Notes to editors
The business workshop will cover:
• Tourism – how to make the most of it now and in the future
• Pre-Games training camps – how businesses can benefit from teams being based in Surrey ahead of the Games
• Olympic contracts still available – how to bid for them successfully
• Business continuity – how to keep operating during Games-time.
• Facts, figures, dates and times for the Olympic events taking place in Surrey including details of the routes for the cycle races and torch relay
Visit www.gosurrey.info/business for details of future events.
*The Visit Surrey iPhone app is available for download at: http://www.visitsurrey.com/plan-your-trip/download
Visit www.surreyhills.org for more information about the Surrey Hills Road Race Food and Drink Festival.