Dead sperm whale at Old Hunstanton boosts tourism
A dead sperm whale that washed up on a Norfolk beach was responsible for a surge in visitors to the area, the local council and businesses have said.
The 55ft (16.7m) whale became a tourist attraction after it was found in Old Hunstanton, on the north Norfolk coast, on Christmas Eve.
The nearby Cliff Top car park took £4,022 during December 2011.
This compared with £837 in December 2010, the Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk said.
A council spokeswoman said the car park takings could not be fully put down the whale, but said the corpse "certainly played its part" in attracting visitors.
The whale was removed from the beach in January.
Heather Rudd, who runs the Old Boathouse Cafe near to where the whale beached, said business had boomed after the new arrival came ashore.
"We were chock-a-block," she said. "It was like a summer's day.
"Takings were double what they normally are during the winter months. People had definitely come to see the whale."
Mrs Rudd said businesses throughout the town saw trade increase as curious visitors travelled to see the unusual attraction first hand.
She said. "I would like a whale to come every year."
Patrick Keller, who regularly visits Old Hunstanton on Boxing Day, said he could not believe how many people had flocked to the area to see the whale compared to a typical 26 December.
He said: "The beach was heaving with people. We had to walk all the way back into Hunstanton just to find somewhere to eat.
"It was bizarre. People were fascinated by it."