Pier basks in bank holiday success, despite fall in annual visitor numbers
PUBLISHED: 16:00 20 September 2019
The Grand Pier welcomed twice as many people over the August bank holiday weekend than last year, it has announced this week.
Weston's most famous attraction experienced 'the best and busiest weekend' for at least a decade, thanks to scorching weather felt across the country.
Figures reveal an increase in arcade and amusement spending for the month at 1.7 per cent, as well as a hike in food and beverage sales rising to 16 per cent.
The pier's success reflects the national picture, with VisitBritain reporting a £2.1billion boost to the UK economy thanks in part to 8.6million holidaymakers booking bank holiday staycations.
Director of the pier, Alex Demetriou, said: "While we had no single record-breaking day in August, the bank holiday weekend was our best ever in terms of footfall and spend.
"No-one here can remember the pier ever experiencing three consecutive days like that, certainly not since it re-opened in October 2010, following the fire two years earlier."
The attraction's footfall is down by one per cent in the year to date, but its spending-per-head is up by four per cent.
The pier says its bank holiday success provides 'a welcome boost' to business after a 'challenging' year.
Alex continued: "We had increases to the minimum wage and pension contributions kick-in for the financial year, plus a rise in business rates, all against the overall ongoing tide of uncertainty due to Brexit.
"We also had a 20 per cent increase to the cost of cod, which is one of our bulk purchases, and we took the decision not to pass the higher costs on to our visitors.
"This means we have to work harder than ever to try and increase the attraction's footfall and spend-per-head, and the August bank holiday was a much-needed relief to leisure businesses which are reliant on the weather."
Due to the colder months ahead, the pier is now shifting its focus too promoting its all-year-round attraction.
The seaside business will host its Halloween Underground event from October 24 to November 2 at 7pm.
Tickets, priced from £7.50-£30, are available online at www.grandpier.co.uk or on 01934 620238.