Prices slashed as Westcountry tourism battles against bad weather
Disastrous summer weather and the Olympics could prompt the Westcountry tourism industry to offer customers cheap autumn breaks, according to experts.
As hotels, B&Bs and attractions tot-up the cost of one of the wettest summers on record, some are considering slashing prices in a desperate bid to salvage profits.
The prediction comes on the heels of a report from the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions.
The document claims some attractions in popular tourist destinations lost up to 60% of normal business in peak season, while many hotels struggled for business.
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Alice Mariscotti-Wyatt, editor at price comparison site Dealchecker, said bad weather had had a serious impact on business for many UK hotels and attractions this year.
She said: "The Olympics also hit visitor numbers, as people who actually managed to get tickets used some of their holiday allowance to enjoy the Games.
"Now travellers should make the most of autumn and winter breaks by backing our home-based travel industry. Britain has so much to offer."
According to the Trivago Hotel Price Index during the recent half-term, Newquay and Plymouth had the cheapest hotel prices in their regions.
Rates in popular half-term hotspots such as Cornwall and Dartmoor have all decreased dramatically in comparison to September according to the index.
However, Sandy Anderson, manageress at the Sunnyside Hotel, Newquay, said she had not dropped prices over the summer and business had been decent.
She said: "A lot of our guests are youngsters coming down to surf so they really couldn't care less about the weather. Bearing in mind we're in a recession we've had a very good year.
"Not everyone is put off going on holiday because of poor weather.
"People still want to get away whatever the conditions and time of year."
Northcote Manor, nestling in the foothills of Exmoor in north Devon, has slashed 25% off its normal dinner, B&B rate until November 30, making a new price of £97.50 per person per night.
Briony Ellis, spokesman for the 20-room hotel, said "business was booming".
She said: "The summer was pretty awful weather-wise but we're very busy – in fact it's been one of our busiest years.
"At the moment, the hotel is fully booked pretty much every night.
"We hold regular gourmet events which I think keeps guests coming through the doors."
Tim Jones, chairman at the Devon and Cornwall Business Council, said the picture across the Westcountry was "patchy" with some suffering while others were holding their own.
He said: "Hotels like Northcote Manor have done well because they're offering extra added value for customers with special events, which is key.
"Businesses who are savvy with their marketing and are offering specialist attractions have hardly seen a blip since last year and are doing relatively well."