Pier visitor numbers exceed pre-Covid levels

time:2023-06-04 12:40:05source:NBC News author:Press center6

The number of annual visits to a Victorian-era pier has returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Management at Clacton Pier in Essex said there were 950,000 visits in 2022 - 20,000 more than in 2019.

The attraction has not registered a million or more visits since Butlins closed in the resort in 1983.

Pier director Billy Ball said he wanted to continue driving footfall because VAT had returned to 20% and staff costs were up 26%.

"We cannot take our foot off the pedal, and we have to keep providing top quality attractions and great value for money to pull customers in," he said.

The pier installed equipment to "accurately" monitor visits in 2018, and the number hit just over 930,000 in 2019, before the "significant" drop during the Covid-19 lockdowns.

The attraction, which was first built in 1871, offers tenpin bowling, soft play, dodgems, an amusement arcade with more than 50 games and a two-storey adventure golf course.

It was named Pier of the Year in 2020 and three new rides, including a big wheel, were added in 2021.

It is the largest leisure pier in Europe by surface area.

Mr Ball said it was working on introducing a new "dinosaur walk-through experience" and 4D cinema to replace its seaquarium which closed in the autumn.

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