Summer stays in Devon and Cornwall could start in a few weeks

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Hope is rising for tourism reopening in time for a summer peak and for the season to take advantage of an extension in the fall to kick-start a vital part of the Southwest’s economy. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the government remains committed to the “ambitious goal” of a July 4 opening and threw its weight behind the idea of ​​a public holiday in October.

He told MEPs that the government would launch a campaign to encourage the British to book vacations in seaside towns.

Dowden said he would “rigorously defend” holidays in Britain, suggesting the possibility of a stay pending, just as quarantine measures for arrivals to the UK are on the verge of ” enter into force on Monday, putting a brake on holidays abroad.

The Minister also took the time to praise Cornwall as a “world class tourist destination”.

Dowden told MEPs, “We hope to recover tourism as soon as possible, and when it returns, we will invest heavily, making sure we have a big campaign to encourage the British to take British vacations. ”

Asked about Visit Britain’s efforts for a new holiday during the back-to-school period in October, which is expected to boost tourism nationwide by £ 500m, he said he would discuss “the excellent proposal With business secretary Alok Sharma. “One of the challenges we will have to face will be to make the sector as operational as possible during the summer and to expand it as long as possible,” he added.

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Cherilyn Mackrory, Conservative MP for Truro and Falmouth, told Dowden that the “extremely large” tourism industry supports one in five jobs in Cornwall and called on the government to promote the destination.

Mr. Dowden said, “Well, I know Cornwall is a world class tourist destination. I had a good vacation there when I was a child and I have taken my own children there many times.

“I think it is really important that, as I said, we hope to recover tourism as soon as possible, and when it returns, we will invest a lot to make sure we have a big campaign to encourage British to take British stays. . ”

Words of support come as the visitor economy takes its first steps out of closing with the Eden Project opening its outdoor gardens from today joining other horticultural attractions that started their season this week, including RHS Rosemoor in North Devon and some National Trust sites. In a new impetus, new flights have been announced between Cornwall Newquay Airport and Teeside.

Malcolm Bell, general manager of Visit Cornwall, said a fall holiday would be welcome. “We are grateful for any help right now. We are short of holidays at the end of the year and one in mid-October would be helpful.

“The opening sends a message about the state of affairs: visitors will need to book time slots at attractions in advance and book meals at restaurants. They will need to book their accommodation in advance – there may not be room if they just come.

“I am a little more optimistic that in one way or another, we will be operational from July.”

Rick Turner, president of the South West Tourism Alliance, said that an October holiday would be “great.” “As a country, after all we have gone through, everyone needs a little optimism. A holiday would be a real boom for the hospitality industry.

“I’m more confident now than I was a few weeks ago about a summer opening. It will be a smooth opening, with residents in the first two weeks, then visitors who will come as new homes open.

“Hopefully when the attractions open it will reduce pressure on pinch points like beaches and parks,” said Turner, who runs The Big Sheep in North Devon. “We will try to open with paid slots in the morning, in the afternoon and go in the evening, to distribute the figures. “

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The initiatives would help build visitors’ confidence and encourage them to follow directions to keep themselves, workers and other residents safe. These included the Riviera responsible for Torbay, urging people to follow the guidelines and follow social dislocation, which would help reassure residents about the influx of people.

“Visit England is implementing a home marketing campaign, a kite brand that businesses can post online to show they are safe,” said Turner.

“The challenge will be how much money companies can take, when they are able to operate profitably given the reduced numbers and additional costs such as personal protective equipment and additional cleaning and the like.

“The industry will need additional support throughout the winter.”

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