Summer of sun sees tourism spend surge
The third hottest July on record has seen leisure spending rocket, with aquariums, theme parks and campsites among the attractions to have seen their business boom.
Barclaycard has said that spending figures for the month reflected the busiest summer season since 2006 Spending highlights including a 99% increase in spend at aquariums, 64% increase at amusement parks and 20% rise at camp sites.
In the Westcountry the staycation surge has continued throughout August, with many local businesses and attractions describing this summer as their busiest for years.
The bank holiday weekend saw just under 500 guests stay at Woodovis Park near Tavistock's 20 static vans, 50 camping pitches and three trendy camping 'pods'.
Warden Andy Harding said: "Our tent field's been full for all of the school holidays – last year, we didn't have a single night that we were full.
"It's been a very good year compared to last year, which was pretty dismal.
"We've hardly been able to move with demand for the pods; we've taken two bookings already for next July and will be getting another one, so will have four next year."
Family attraction Crealy, which has two sites, near Wadebridge and Exeter, said it had seen a "substantial" increase in visitor numbers to its Devon theme park throughout the summer holidays.
General manager Josh Haywood said: "August has been very busy which we are thrilled with.
"The sun has attracted thousands more to Devon. On sunny days our main competitor is the beach, but the main summer marketing campaign – 'Nowhere is cooler than Crealy' has been very effective."
As well as unique visits being on the up, there has also been an increase in visitors taking up the parks' seven days for the price of one offer.
"Around 20% of people who attend the park validate their ticket to return and this summer we have seen an increase in multiple returns due to the weather being so good," said Mr Haywood.
UK-based tourists make up a significant proportion of the guests at the company's themed camping and caravan site, Crealy Meadows, which was fully booked over the weekend bank holiday.
Mr Haywood said: "It has only been open for a year, but the safari and medieval glamping sites have been sold out for the majority of the year, with many booking already for next year."
However, Dr David Gibson, managing director of the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth said that the hottest summer days resulted in fewer visitors than in three previous "bumper" years of summer downpours for the attraction.
He said: "This summer has seen a fairly steady stream of visitors, with some days seeing over 3,300 people through the doors. Overall though, we have seen a slight decline in visitor numbers during the recent period of good weather."
He added: "It's been very pleasing to see the weather help to attract visitors to other, smaller, coastal and outdoor attractions that have struggled in the last few years."
A Barclaycard spokesperson said: "This latest data reinforces our view that British shoppers are finally shaking off the longest period of austerity in a generation and are more readily parting with their money."