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Tuesday, July 29, 2014
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SIDMOUTH: East Devon is ‘open for business’, say councillors
Thursday, 06 March 2014
East Devon is well and truly open for business despite its seaside resorts being hit by recent storms, according to district councillors.
At a meeting at Knowle last week, EDDC members said negative television headlines had put people off visiting the area, but they would continue to show their support for the local tourism trade.
Sidmouth Councillor Sheila Kerridge, who is also EDDC’s Tourism Champion, said: “It is easy to understand people in other parts of the UK and abroad seeing pictures of storm damage on their TV screens or Twitter feeds and assuming there is no point coming to Devon at the moment.
“What they need to know is that we are a resourceful and resilient lot down here and East Devon is already bouncing back from the storms.”
Persistent heavy rain and strong winds caused major disruption to transport networks in and out of the region during February and Sidmouth seafront was battered by huge waves throwing up debris onto the Esplanade.
Councillor Kerridge added: “Seaside businesses took a hit during February with a drop in bookings and in a lot of cases actual damage to accommodation, which limited their capacity. But the recovery is now mostly complete and businesses are looking ahead with optimism.”
The first major holiday weekend of the year falls later than normal this year – on April 18th – and councillors said this would give businesses plenty of time to finish the clean-up and prepare for a busy Easter.
EDDC’s Cabinet Member for Economy, Ian Thomas, said there was a need to get the message out to potential visitors that businesses are “open and ready to serve”.
He said: “Local volunteers and East Devon staff are hard at work repairing damaged seafronts and tidying our fabulous resorts so they are ready to welcome visitors as we move into the spring.
“Beyond the obvious cleaning and repairs, they have just this week saved the world from the ills of over 11 million cigarettes.
“The clear message is that East Devon is very much open for business – and you can get here by car, bus, train, plane or tram.
“But let’s not forget, East Devon is a year-round tourist haven, with plenty to do in all weathers and loads of visitor attractions.”
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