Tourism: Storm-Hit Dorset Gets Easter Boost
Early indications suggest the storm battered south-west coast has enjoyed a much-needed boost in tourism over the Easter weekend.
The area was hard hit in the worst winter on record and business owners reported that in places trade was down by as much as a third.
But good weather in this holiday period has brought the tourists back in great numbers and, once the figures are in, tourism bosses hope they will show the region is back on track.
In Lyme Regis, bed and breakfast accommodation and most of the local hotels were full and the beaches busy.
David Tucker, who runs the Lyme Regis Museum, said footfall was clearly down in the early part of the year but he expected the area to recover quickly.
"The images of Lyme Regis and elsewhere being battered and damaged by the storms are bound to have a lasting effect on people," he said.
"All we can say is that everything is back to normal and this is a beautiful place to come and visit."
Mark Callaghan, who owns The Terrace cafe and shop in Lyme Regis, said: "We are economy-driven as well as weather-driven here and we are constantly at the mercy of both.
"People who a couple of months ago may have tried and failed to get here because of the weather are certainly coming back. It might be a gradual process.
"We have had to expand our online business so we can keep going forward."
The Environment Agency announced today that it has repaired 350 flood defences, including the sea defences at Weymouth and the dune system on the Lincolnshire coast.
The Government says the Environment Agency has been provided with an extra £270m to maintain the defences.