A record season on the way?

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THE holiday season is shaping up to be the “best ever” in Scarborough as bookings hit record highs.

Caravan parks, hotels, and holiday lettings across the town are reporting a rise in visitor numbers for the 2011 season compared to previous years.

The news comes as Scarborough makes it in to the UK’s top destinations list for oversees visitors.

James Brown, director of Brown’s Caravan Park in Cayton Bay, says touring bookings are already filling up for summer months.

He said; “This summer is definitely shaping up to be the best ever.

“Over the past three years we have seen a steady increase, but this year we are already almost full for school holidays, when usually in March we don’t have many bookings for the year ahead.

“The first week we were open was also better, our touring field is a third full when normally it is empty at the start of our season.”

The story is the same at The Sands holiday apartments in the North Bay, where some have already sold out for the entire summer.

Rachel Dean, director of Escape to the Sands, said: “Things are looking fantastic for this year.

“We are 40 per cent up on last year for repeat guests, and all the three-bedroom sea-view apartments are already sold out for the summer.

“We had people booking as early as Christmas for the summer, and will be fully booked for all the summer holidays without a doubt.”

As visitor numbers are set to soar attractions across the town are preparing for a busy season.

The North Bay Railway company is undergoing a £45,000 refurbishment, including a £10,000 renovation on the historic water slide and the opening of Yorkshire’s smallest pub.

David Humphrey’s, general manager, said: “We are spending a lot of money getting ready for 2011.

“The new pub is really shaping up and will be ready for April 2, and we are also working on restoring the water chute which will also be open and ready this season.

“We feel it is worth the investment as visitor numbers are really on the up for us. Since the snow disappeared we have already seen record numbers through the door for this time of year.

“It is fantastic so far and we are looking forward to a busy summer.”

Work is under way on the new pub, which will see a former boatman’s hut at the southern end of Northstead Manor Lake converted in to smallest pub in Yorkshire, called The Boatman’s Tavern.

This summer season will also see the opening of a new £250,000 pirate themed adventure golf course at Scarborough’s Sea Life Centre.

The attraction, which will employ 14 full time staff and 33 part time staff, is set to open in time for Easter.

The owners of Pinewood Holiday Park, in Racecourse Road, are also hard at working preparing the summer with the installation of this year’s tipis.

Park owner Kerry Woodhead, said: “We get new tipis in every year, and are currently working hard to get them up for this year.

“They have become really popular, and we are seeing numbers increase every year since we have been here, so we are very optimistic for a good year for 2011.

“I am sure as the weather improves even more people will start thinking about coming to Scarborough for their holidays.”

Scarborough was recently placed in the top 30 destinations in the UK for overseas visitors, recording on average 1,600 foreign visitors a year.

Also in the list were Edinburgh, Bournemouth, Newquay, St Ives and Liverpool.

The Scarborough area currently attracts some five and a half million visitors each year who generate a total expenditure of more than £380 million.

During the height of the holiday season the population of Scarborough doubles with up to 100,000 visitors arriving on peak days.

The tourism industry in the Borough accounts for almost seven and a half thousand local jobs or 18 per cent of the Borough’s workforce.