Forget BBQ summers says survey

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Cornwall’s tourism industry needs to work together more closely to promote the Duchy as an all-year round, experience rich destination and not rely on often failed forecasts of barbeque summers, according to a leading local holiday firm.

A survey of over 500 groups of holidaymakers in Cornwall, undertaken by West Cornwall Cottage Holidays, has revealed that only 10% say fine weather is the key element to their holiday.

Instead, the majority of visitors come to the county to enjoy the wide range of experiences, including walking and cycling, sea sports, historic gardens and houses and in many cases touring the county and enjoying the sights and sounds that it has to offer.

An overwhelming 98% of those surveyed said it was the location itself that was the most important attraction when coming on holiday to Cornwall, with 92% also basing their holiday choice on their interests and not the weather.

According to West Cornwall Cottage Holiday’s MD Austyn Hallworth, the survey findings highlight that visitors choose Cornwall not because of the weather, but because of the wide variety of year round activities and experiences.

He said: “After the last three washout summers culminating in the predicted barbeque summer last year that failed to materialise, if Cornwall was a beach and weather destination, we would be dead on our feet by now.

“But the reality is that last year, on the back of two poor weather years and a recession, we saw increased numbers of people booking their holidays with us. The survey has confirmed without question that it is not the weather that is the driving factor in people’s decision to come to Cornwall, but the wealth of things to do, places to go and sights to see once they are here, whether that is surfing and mountain biking, or visiting country homes and gardens.

“But as an industry do we really get that message across? I would have to say I don’t think we do. Destination Marketing really is the key.

“We don’t need to hang our hopes on barbeque summers only to be disappointed when they do not materialise.”