Crab and Lobster Festival could pot �2m for north Norfolk
Victoria LeggettA colourful trail of crabs and lobsters, which should bring tens of thousands of visitors to north Norfolk over the next six weeks, could generate up to �2m for the area's economy, organisers said.Victoria Leggett
A colourful trail of crabs and lobsters, which should bring tens of thousands of visitors to north Norfolk over the next six weeks, could generate up to �2m for the area's economy, organisers said.
The Crustacea Crawl kicked off this week and leads up to the Cromer and Sheringham Crab and Lobster Festival in May.
It follows last year's Hippo Hunt in North Walsham when the town's traders reported a doubling or even trebling of business during the one week trail period.
Last night, organisers of both the Crustacea Crawl and Hippo Hunt predicted a major windfall for north Norfolk businesses as giant shellfish drew fun-seeking visitors to the area this spring.
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John Morgan, one of the Crab and Lobster Festival organisers, said, by the time all the models are auctioned off on May 30, the benefit could be into seven figures based on the average spend for a visitor.
He said: 'It's difficult to put a figure on possible economic benefits but, given the two-day Lowestoft Air Show brings an estimated �10m into the town, the Crab and Lobster Festival could be worth �2m for Sheringham and Cromer.'
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Newly-appointed Cromer chamber of trade president Peter Stibbons said the events would prove fruitful for traders across the two towns from hotels to shops.
He said: 'I think the towns owe a debt of gratitude to everybody who has organised it.
'As people travel into the area, they will be making use of the facilities in terms of places to eat, they will be buying things of interest at the shops. They will be using a whole range of facilities.'
Traders in the area will be looking to North Walsham to try to gauge the kind of benefits they can hope to reap over the next month and a half.
The one-week Hippo Hunt in 2009, which saw a herd of 50 beasts arrive in the town for half term, brought visitors of all ages from as far afield as Devon and Cornwall.
Paul East, one of the organisers, said North Walsham saw at least 20,000 extra people in the town and he would be watching Cromer and Sheringham with great interest.
He said: 'I think it will be a huge success. I will be going along.'
During the hunt, traders reported a major boost in business as visitors made use of the area's restaurants and shops while they worked their way around town, ticking off each hippo on their trail map.
Clare Fletcher, hunt organiser and head teacher at North Walsham Infant and Nursery School, described it as 'momentous'. She said: 'The town was a buzz for the whole week. The fish and chip shop sold at least three times as much as it normally would and the church said they easily had three or four times the amount of visitors.'