Many of Cornwall’s top tourist attractions have reported “an incredibly positive” first week of trading, following the Government’s announcement supporting the reopening of tourism and visitor attractions from July 4.
The majority of visitor attractions reopened at the start of last week, with many reporting a better than expected response to visitor numbers.
While a small number of attractions with large outdoor spaces – such as Eden Project, National Trust properties, The Lost Gardens of Heligan and Trebah Garden – were able to offer opportunities to visit from early June, last week will saw a more widespread return to business for the majority of our tourist attractions.
Organisations such as Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm and the Cornish Seal Sanctuary have reported excellent trading – with Healey’s returning the same onsite daily sales as the equivalent week last year by Wednesday of last week.
Other tourist attractions – including Eden Project, Land’s End and Newquay Zoo – who have reopened saw their visitor numbers increase steadily throughout the week and have opened additional catering outlets or increased their opening hours to cope with demand.
Many attractions are slowly increasing their daily capacity for visitor number as they become more confident at managing visitor footfall, while ensuring they stick firmly to social distancing and safety measures.
Jonathan Bray, chair of the board of directors at Cornwall Association of Tourist Attractions, said: “It’s been reassuring to see such great visitor numbers at the start of July. Most of our visitor attractions have modelled for around 50% capacity, but it’s been wonderful to hear that many are exceeding that in their first week of trading again.
“Our visitor attractions have been ensuring that everyone remains safe on site, and as their confidence grows in their ability to deal with visitors, they are opening up their sites more widely. We hope that the public confidence in having a great day out in Cornwall at our attractions continues to increase and we keep providing both locals and holidaymakers with great memories.”
It was also a week in which the Cornish tourism industry welcomed further government support for businesses hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. The reduction in VAT from 20% to 5% was particularly welcomed by Cornish visitor attractions, who see this as vital financial support that can assist their survival through the coming months.
Bray continued: “Three months of enforced closure has hit many of our visitor attractions hard, and we welcome financial measures put in place by the Government to ensure that the tourism industry gets through these difficult times.
“The VAT reduction will pass savings onto many businesses that will help support them and manage the effects of the pandemic on their business.”