Tourism on the up as occupancy rates bounce back to pre-recession levels
HOTEL occupancy rates bounced back to pre-recession levels this year according to latest figures.
Occupancy levels fell by six to seven per cent in 2008 but glorious weather and signs of economic recovery have led to a resurgence in the industry according to a Truro analyst.
The news is an added boost to tourism in Cornwall following news last night that the county was named the best UK holiday region for the fifth year in a row at the British Travel Awards.
Chartered accountants Francis Clark have been surveying Cornwall’s hotel sector every month for more than two decades, with the survey now including up to 1.2 million bed nights a year.
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Partner Tom Roach, who is a specialist in the tourism and leisure industry said: “There was some pessimism at the start of this year after poor weather for consecutive summers, however this was not borne out in July and August with reported bed occupancy in Cornwall up between six and seven per cent.
“Increases of this magnitude across the two main summer months are unprecedented and particularly pleasing with August occupancies more in line with 2006/7 after a number of years of decline.
“The fine weather played a big part in this and there was evidence that people were making their bookings later, so it is important that businesses respond to this trend through their marketing approach.”
Malcolm Bell, head of Visit Cornwall said: “At the start of the year I think a lot of businesses were concerned because advance bookings hadn’t been great. However, as soon as the weather improved, holidaymakers started flocking back to Cornwall and we ended up having the best August for five years.”
Tourism businesses are optimistic the situation will continue to improve next year. St Ives-based lettings agency Aspects Holidays said advance bookings were already 20 per cent higher than this time last year.