Almost one million visitors flock to pier

  • 3 January, 2023
  • On the pier


Almost one million people flocked to Clacton Pier over the past 12

Visitor numbers returned to pre-pandemic levels – and above – with more
than 950,000 counted going through the doors by the end of last month.

It is a significant increase on the previous two years which were
affected by enforced lockdowns and restrictions.

The last time the pier registered a million visitors a year or more was
when Butlins was in Clacton.

Director Billy Ball said that he was delighted with the rise in footfall
but not surprised.

“Both 2020 and 2021 were seriously affected by the Covid pandemic when
there were periods when families simply could not come to the pier due to
government regulations in place at the time,” he said.

“Last year we were open throughout, and we also enjoyed very good
weather, especially in the key summer months when we expect to be at our
busiest and need to take the highest proportion of our money.

“We had invested in new rides in 2021 and are constantly working to
improve the attractions we have on offer, and I would worry if the footfall was
not going up.”

Clacton Pier installed new equipment in 2018 which meant it was able to
accurately monitor its visitors.

The following year the number hit just over 930,000 which was a massive jump
on the estimated 600,000 before that.

The increase was largely due to a multi-million pound development which
included Discovery Bay adventure play area, Skull Point golf and other improvements.

During the years affected by the pandemic footfall dropped

Mr Ball added that while footfall is one indicator of success, what
people spend is equally important.

“We cannot take our foot off the pedal, and we have to keep providing
top quality attractions and great value for money to pull customers in,” he

“That is why we are currently working on Jurassic Pier, our new dinosaur
walk-through experience and 4D cinema which will replace the seaquarium in the

“Other projects are also being lined-up in a bid to increase both
visitor numbers and spend.

“We must continue to strive to increase footfall even further as Government
help on VAT has been removed and it is now back to 20 percent from five
percent; staff costs are 26 percent up and costs for energy and materials are

“All of this eats into profits and our ability to develop and sustain
the pier.”



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