'We like tourists – even if they often get in our way'
New research into South West tourism has revealed overwhelming support among residents for the £9 billion industry – despite complaints about the noise, litter and price rises it brings.
A doorstep study into the impact of tourism in the area showed an 89% approval rate among 1,100 Cornish residents.
However, the poll also brought to light many of the irritations which come with an influx of tourists, with 63% saying holidaymakers interfered with their enjoyment of the area and 57% complaining their standard of living had been affected.
A second Cornwall Visitor Survey into visitor profiles showed the Duchy enjoys a much greater percentage from "higher" social classes than the rest of the country.
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Some 70% of people who visit Cornwall hail from the A, B and C1 social groups – the terms market researchers use to designate the middle class – compared to 55% nationally.
The reports come just days after an in-depth study into 2011 which calculated that a third of all jobs are dependent on holidaymakers in some parts of Cornwall, which earns £1.8 billion from tourism each year.
Malcolm Bell, head of Cornwall Council's tourism service, Visit Cornwall, which commissioned all three studies, said the positivity of a visitor's experience and the attitude of locals towards it were "inter-linked".
"It is heartening to see these reports produce such positive findings," he added. "The vast majority of residents recognise the importance of tourism and support it.
"This will help us to develop and manage tourism to maximise the pluses while working to minimise the negatives."
The Community Attitudes Survey 2012, drawn from doorstep interviews in 11 towns and small villages, found that 89% of residents feel tourism is good for Cornwall, with 64% saying it is of great benefit. Some 63% complained that tourism interfered with their enjoyment of the area, 61% picked out litter as a problem and 55% bemoaned higher prices.
Noise and irresponsibility of some visitors was also highlighted as a negative, particularly in hotspots for young revellers, such as Newquay.
However, the broadly positive tone was echoed by visitors, with almost nine out of ten rating their trip as very good in the Cornwall Visitor Survey 2012 Autumn Progress Report.
This identified the average visitor as being aged 35 or older with no children in the household and falling within the ABC1 socio-economic group.
Loyalty was also reinforced, with 90% of Cornwall's tourists revealing they are repeat visitors, mostly coming from Devon (11%) followed by Greater London, Somerset, and the West Midlands (5%) to stay an average of seven nights.
Joan Symons, Cornwall Council Cabinet member for tourism, culture and leisure, said improved performance compared to 2010 indicates the tourism industry has "resisted recessionary trends and undergone a growth period".