Tourism fears over pump prices

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The spiraling cost of UK fuel prices could seriously damage Cornwall’s tourist industry this year, a local holiday specialist has warned.

With diesel prices pushing £1.50 a litre in some areas, West Cornwall Cottage Holidays MD Austyn Hallworth says wider fears that the price increases could take hundreds of motorists off the road for all but essential travel could hit Cornwall’s tourism industry hard.

Such is the concern that the Penzance-based company has teamed up with supermarket giant Morrison’s to launch a promotion offering free petrol and diesel vouchers worth up to £250 for customers booking one of the company’s properties for a stay during March and April.

He said: “While we have a fantastic holiday destination, the majority of our UK visitors travel to Cornwall by car often having round trips of hundreds of miles and we think there is a very real and present danger that people will vote with their pockets and decide to either holiday closer to home in Devon or Dorset, or just not go away because the price of fuel is a massive add-on cost to the holiday.

“From talking to other holiday companies in Cornwall, they are seeing the same trends in that bookings are lower and slower than in previous years and it won’t be just the accommodation provider that will suffer – it will be the thousands of businesses that rely on tourism in Cornwall – including food and drink retailers to visitor attractions.

“If just 10% of the usual visitors to Cornwall vote with their pockets and decide not to come the impact could be massive,” he added.