It’s not just international travel businesses that are feeling the spending squeeze – some of Britain’s most well-known domestic holiday destinations are seeing just a trickle of visitors, many of whom are opting for a shorter, less expensive holiday than usual. Cornwall is one of several regions under the financial weather, with tourism-dependent businesses reporting lower-than-usual revenue.
From hotels to the region’s restaurants, this year’s peak travel season has been fairly commercially underwhelming. While Britain’s economy is officially on the return to health, limited budgets and an all-round avoidance of needless spending have pushed many Britons to forego this year’s short holiday. Even fewer are opting to travel overseas, with a number of travel agents now bankrupt.
Prime Minister David Cameron has called for Britons to help their country’s ailing tourism industry, advising families to travel within the country rather than internationally. Stressing the lower cost of holidaying within the country and the various destinations within the UK, the government has hopes of increasing spending in the tourism industry, which is the nation’s third largest.
As part of a formal tourism recovery plan, the government will offer tax breaks and rebates to hotels and other businesses that cater to domestic tourists. Business rate rooms will be partially reimbursed by the government, encouraging hotels to lower prices and attract low-budget travellers. With many of Cornwall’s businesses struggling to hit targets, it appears that the incentives may be helpful.
But for those who depend on tourism for income, this year’s season is unlikely to hit its peak. From credit crunches to the Icelandic eruption, Britain’s tourism industry will have to survive through one of the worst peak seasons on record. Long-term plans focussing on China and other growing nations will likely make Britain an attractive destination, but they’re unlikely to occur this year.