Tourist numbers were down in Devon over Easter

It was a challenging Easter for Devon’s tourism sector.

This Easter, Devon’s tourist attractions faced a significant decline, with business down by up to 25% compared to previous years.

Why was this the case, and could this be bad news for summer tourism? As someone who not only writes about tourism in Devon but owns a tour business in the county, this is something I like to stay on top of!

Let’s take a look at why numbers were lower.

Possible reasons why Easter was quiet in Devon

Industry experts attribute the touristic downturn to a combination of unusually early Easter holidays and persistent bad weather – while there are plenty of things to do in Devon in the rain, it’s not quite the same as spending a day on the beach!

Josh Haywood, of the Devon Association of Tourist Attractions and Crealy Theme Park‘s general manager, described the situation as “a recipe for a really poor Easter.” (source: BBC)

He noted a 20-25% decrease in year-on-year revenue, attributing it to fewer visitors and reduced spending. “It’s always tricky when Easter is early and mixed with bad weather,” Haywood explained.

February morning high tide at Branscombe beach Seaton east Devon in the west of England UK

Impact across the region

The situation was similar in the Torbay area, where the English Riviera BID (ERBID) company reported decreases in visitor numbers and spending by about 15% and 10%, respectively.

Carolyn Custerton, who is the chief executive of ERBID, echoed Haywood’s sentiments, pointing out that the persistent wet conditions since October and the rising cost of living have put additional strains on family budgets, influencing their leisure spending and meaning that they may look for free attractions and ways to cut costs when on holiday.

It wasn’t all bad news!

Despite the gloomy overview, not all reports were disheartening. The Dartmouth Steam Railway managed to buck the trend, with John Jones, its managing director, reporting strong attendance figures.

“In the run-up to Easter, the weather was appalling, but the numbers ended up being really good,” he said.

Public steam train pulling carriages over a bridge through Devon Countryside from Dartmouth to Paignton

Looking forward

Leaders from both the Devon Association of Tourist Attractions and ERBID expressed hope that the upcoming summer season could bring better weather and a rebound in tourist activity.

They are optimistic that improved conditions will encourage more visitors to explore Devon’s offerings, from its picturesque coastlines to its historic sites and family-friendly parks.

While Devon’s tourist attractions have endured a difficult start to the year, there is a cautious optimism that the coming months will see a resurgence in tourism that will help offset the early losses.

For visitors, this might be the perfect time to plan a summer getaway to Devon!

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