Hopes for Somerset tourism boost as visitors opt for 'staycations' to save money

The chief executive of Visit Somerset has said he is hopeful tourism will receive a boost in the county in 2023 as people avoid expensive overseas trips.

John Turner says the visitor economy could pick up in the next year with many people having chosen to travel abroad following the lifting of Covid restrictions.

He said: "What we are expecting to see next year is now that everybody has spent all their money and done all those things abroad they couldn't do during the pandemic, this year we're expecting to see a huge resurgence in domestic tourism in 2023."

Danny Williams runs coffee shop and restaurant Loaf in Wells. He says after over five years of trading the current picture is challenging but is confident that with hard work businesses like his can still thrive.

He said: "What we need to do is keep ourselves current and make ourselves into a destination venue.

"Myself and my wife - that's how we've always thought of Loaf. You come here because there are places where you can take photos and Instagram and you love your food and it looks really pretty.

"I think if you're not a destination place then it is very difficult to attract people in."

Wells is an example of somewhere in Somerset that relies on visitors. England's smallest city is full of history and has a growing number of independent shops, cafes and restaurants.

Speaking at Santé Wines, a wine bar and restaurant which opened in the city this year, Sean Sloan, chair of Wells Chamber of Commerce, said the city has had a good final quarter.

However, he said it is easy for things like the weather to have a big impact.

He told ITV News West Country: "Good weather is a really important thing. That's what we noticed this year - whereas you usually have six weeks of buildup to Christmas it was so cold in Wells, and we do have an older population, they weren't really traveling out.

"But as soon as that weather broke and we had a reasonably warm day that was all that was needed and I think we had one of the busiest we've ever had in Wells."