Brid’s bumper summer - thanks to birds, bikes, Brexit and bands

Bob Hillery, Isla Pickup, Rick Arrand and Paul Cooper from Bridlington Tourism Association
Bob Hillery, Isla Pickup, Rick Arrand and Paul Cooper from Bridlington Tourism Association

You’ll find no vacancies signs at every Bridlington hotel and guest house next weekend – the icing on the cake after a brilliant summer for tourism.

The popular annual scooter weekend is a sell-out, with dozens of people on a waiting list for accommodation.

Bridlington was the start of the Tour de Yorkshire.

Bridlington was the start of the Tour de Yorkshire.

And it comes after one of the busiest seasons in living memory for members of Bridlington Tourism Association.

Secretary Isla Pickup, who runs Sunflower Lodge B&B in Flamborough Road, said: “It’s been an exceptionally good summer, all of our members agree it’s been very, very busy.

“It has been one of the best summers and it is getting better and better every year. On a sunny day the beaches are packed and that wasn’t happening four or five years ago.

“Lots of people are choosing not to go abroad, because of the Brexit effect, the value of the pound and with the situation now with Ryanair and Monarch, the price of flights could go through the roof.”

The Winmau World Masters returned to the Spa

The Winmau World Masters returned to the Spa

But Bridlington’s appearances on TV are definitely one of the main reasons for the up-turn in trade and it certainly has started to make a real difference, with the Tour de Yorkshire, nature prime-time shows about RSPB Bempton Cliffs and top-level darts being shown internationally.

BTA vice-president Paul Cooper, who runs Victoria House, said: “We get an awful lot of people staying who have come to see Bempton Cliffs, and that’s great for the town.

“We’ve had a lot more enquiries since it was on Countryfile and they are from London and overseas.”

And president Bob Hillary added: “We all had people who came to stay with us for the Tour de Yorkshire. Having a start is not as good as a finish but it is better than nothing and it’s the publicity that it generates, which is key, people knowing where we are.

Coverage of Bempton Cliffs on the BBC's Countryfile helped to promote birdwatching in the area

Coverage of Bempton Cliffs on the BBC's Countryfile helped to promote birdwatching in the area

“Plenty of other towns don’t get the level of coverage we do.”

However, there’s also another market which some hotels are managing to tap into, and it is bringing younger visitors to Bridlington. Paul said: “We’ve seen a massive increase in the number of families staying with us and a lot of school groups.

“Many of them are studying coastal erosion in geography and we’ve had parties from Chesterfield and Northampton, and have more booked in from Jersey and the Isle of Man. I think that’s down to the TV.”

At Ashford House, association Treasurer Rick Arrand said: “99% of people who stay with us use the internet to look for where to stay and all are requiring a higher standard of accommodation, for which a very large majority of BTA members have.

Rooms are impossible to find for this weekend's Scooter Weekend

Rooms are impossible to find for this weekend's Scooter Weekend

“As soon as the Spa announces a concert, we get booked up. We could have sold another 50 rooms for The Script.”

But some hotels are still concentrating on the older generations for guests.

President Bob, who has been in the industry for 37 years and whose family run Spinnaker House, said: “Most of my bookings for the year are in by mid-January and 80% of people who stay with us don’t have the internet.

“Most of them still come from places like West Yorkshire and the Midlands but we have people from Scarborough who come for a week every year and just like to be looked after.

“Bridlington is value for money – that is the main reason – and for our older visitors it is nice and flat, with beautiful scenery and plenty of places for them to sit and enjoy it.

“The new leisure centre has helped also and the town is looking better, other than the roadworks.

“We are extremely lucky with all the things we have had done in Bridlington.”

As well as reaping the benefits of extra visitors coming to Bridlington, the association has spent thousands of pounds in sponsorship.

It gave a substantial amount towards the Spa’s hosting of the Winmau World Masters Darts, to bring it back to Bridlington again.

“Most of our members were full for the darts and with the BDO Darts here also, it was a brilliant week for businesses,” said Isla. “It makes the town very busy, it’s good for everybody.

“And it means the season is getting longer, it is now from the start of March to the end of October.”

The BTA, which runs the Expo – the area’s biggest trade show – has also sponsored the town’s Kite Festival, the new Weekend of Motoring, a number of tourism and business awards ceremonies, line-dancing and Motown events at The Spa.

It has also given donations to the town’s lifeboat crew, the Spotlight Theatre, Friends of Bridlington Hospital and Bridlington Women in Business.

To make more of a difference in the town, it is keen to add to its 100-strong membership. The association is open to accommodation providers, self-catering businesses, pubs, restaurants, and attractions, all to do with tourism.

The BTA also run a passport discount card scheme, where guests staying at a BTA establishment get a card which entitles them to a range of discounts at restaurants, attractions and shops in Bridlington and further afield.

For more details about joining the BTA or being part of the Passport scheme, visit www.BridHolidays.com