Plan to save the tourist industry after worst ever summer
The Westcountry tourist industry will have to find new ways to attract visitors to the region in the wake of the wettest summer for a century.
Holiday bosses admitted yesterday that the impact of nearly a foot and a half of rain through June, July and August across most of our region would fundamentally change booking practices.
Malcolm Bell, chief executive of VisitCornwall, said online reservations had already altered habits with holidaymakers booking their summer break much later than used to be the case.
And he warned that after four poor summers in a row – topped by this year's washout – even more visitors would be waiting until the last minute and hoping for a good forecast before committing to a Westcountry holiday.
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"The legacy of this summer will be an inevitable trend towards later booking," he said. "Soon it won't be a trend – it will be the norm – people will keep their options open."
He went on: "We are going to have to be more creative. Hope for good weather but plan for bad."
A special report by the WMN today reveals the true extent of the effect of the dismal summer with a number of weather-dependant businesses teetering on the brink of going under.
Ben Brunning of the South Hams-based Nearly Naked veg box has suspended deliveries to his veg-box customers indefinitely.
"I've farmed all my life," he said. "But I can honestly say this year has been the worst year of my career for horticultural produce."
Cereal farmers are also struggling to get the harvest in.