Stay away, says Cornwall as lockdown eases

“Cornwall council wants tourists to stay away this summer because residents fear being swamped by the “Magaluf gang” who would normally holiday abroad.”

Unfortunately Owl has received reports from local seaside residents becoming fearful as a result of the recent influx of “day” visitors not paying any heed to social distancing and congregating in large groups. If these visitors paid more respect to the local communities, who feel very vulnerable especially when told that R might be above 1, then Cornwall (and Devon) would have a more welcoming attitude.

Owl thinks the different attitude in the lakes could be that their tourists can be expected to disperse, not concentrate in small seaside towns and villages.

Will Humphries, Southwest Correspondent | Charlotte Wace, Northern Correspondent www.thetimes.co.uk
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Tim Dwelly, the council’s cabinet member for the economy, said: “We think it would be better to support the tourist business with grants and support rather than have a summer season.”

Some officials in Cornwall said that it was “pretty irresponsible” of the government to encourage holidays in the UK and that local feeling was “very fearful” of a spike in coronavirus cases.

Mr Dwelly said that the council wanted a slower and more gradual opening up in autumn to avoid a “health scare”. The county has had one of the lowest levels of coronavirus cases of any local authority but has only one hospital with critical care facilities.

Mr Dwelly said that visitors who did come should not expect things to be normal. “You are going to find lots of places aren’t open, lots of places you will need to queue and please don’t be surprised if there are some tensions [with locals],” he said.

Malcolm Bell, chief executive of Visit Cornwall, said that if the government did not allow campsites, self-catering accommodation and pubs and restaurants to open from July 4 then the summer season could be lost.

He said that a third of private jobs in Cornwall were based in tourism and 70,000 were at risk.

Mr Bell said that it would be possible to have a good holiday this year under social distancing but “it will require a lot more planning”.

“There will be a lot more booking ahead involved this year, certainly for accommodation, attractions and eating in pubs or restaurants if that is allowed,” he said.

The Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales are hoping to welcome a new cohort of younger tourists this summer.

A survey of visitors to the Lake District over a recent weekend showed that more than half of people were there for the first time or were returning after a long time.

Richard Leafe, of the Lake District National Park, said: “We obviously want the tourism industry to pick up as early as it can and as early as it is safe to do so, because of the economic impact.”

Kathryn Beardmore, of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, said that the changing age range of visitors had already been “noticeable”. “That has got to be good. The fact that families are coming is really positive,” she said.

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