TOWIE sparks tourist boom
The success of 'The Only Way Is Essex' has sparked an unexpected tourist boom in the county, with visitor numbers increasing by 140 per cent in the last year
The success of 'The Only Way Is Essex' has sparked an unexpected tourist boom in the county.
After the likes of Amy Childs, Mark Wright and Sam Faiers shot to fame while appearing on the ITV2 reality show - which was one of the surprise TV success stories of 2010 - visitor numbers to the south-eastern county have increased by a staggering 140 per cent on this time last year.
With fans of the series keen to snap up the delights of a spray tan, vajazzles - made famous by beautician Amy - and the glitzy nightspots featured in the series, it would appear 'TOWIE' addicts are flocking to the area.
According to website Hotels.com, searches for hotels in Brentwood, the home of Kirk Norcross' Sugar Hut nightclub, have increased by 103 per cent alone.
An insider said: "No-one could have predicted that the series would have this kind of effect on tourism. We've seen searches for hotels in Brentwood increase by over 100 per cent. It's insane."
While some locals have slammed the show for conforming to Essex stereotypes, such as white stilettos and fake tans, one tourism expert believes the hit show has proved what the county has to offer.
Lisa Bone, from Visit Essex, told The Sun newspaper: "'The Only Way Is Essex' is representative of certain areas and people - but you get that in any destination.
"We have a great mix. We have lots of bars and beauty salons, but also a great coastline and lots of countryside."