Visitor numbers up during ‘hugely busy’ spring holiday.

TWO Bideford-based theme parks say visitor numbers during the Easter break were up 17 per cent on the six-year average.

Rick Turner, owner of The BIG Sheep and Atlantis Adventure Park, said the attractions fared ‘substantially better’ than in Easter 2011.

He said: “We have been hugely busy over the Easter week. Confidence levels seem to be picking up around the country that the worst of the recession is now over and green shoots are appearing.

“The threats of industrial action at European airports over Easter, some great offers being given by the accommodation providers and relief that the tanker drivers are not going to disrupt the school holiday getaways has meant that this Easter Holiday has been a tourism success.

“Although a few good days do not make a season, we are optimistic that 2012 will be a good year for South West tourism.

“As one of the leading operators we will cooperate with the other major players to promote the region and the unique qualities that give the timeless holiday appeal of Devon and Cornwall.

“With the demise of both South West Tourism and VisitDevon the industry needs to be working together for mutual benefit now more than ever.”