Fine summer for tourism

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Hotel occupancy levels in Cornwall for summer 2013 were on a par with pre-recession levels, according to new figures released from the Truro office of Francis Clark.

Tom Roach
Tom Roach

The firm of chartered accountants has 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.

Francis Clark 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.”

Francis Clark also reported increased spending on repairs and capital projects within the county’s hotel sector. Roach added: “We are starting to see more projects being started which may have been put on hold due to concerns about trading conditions.

“Banks are becoming more confident about funding, and if their covenant requirements can be met, they are offering good value lending. Investment by existing hoteliers is key to ensuring that the quality remains high and the south west remains the pre-eminent region for holidaying in the UK.”

Meanwhile, early signs for 2014 are also positive, with St Ives-based lettings agency, Aspects Holidays, reporting advance holiday bookings already 20% higher than this time last year.

The company, which markets more than 300 properties in St Ives and west Cornwall, believes that holidaymakers are more confident in booking for 2014 after the good weather experienced in the summer this year.

Bookings for Easter, the May half-term and the school summer holidays are particularly high, with the peak summer weeks already 40% occupied.

This is in sharp contrast to bookings for the 2013 season, which at this time last year were 5% below the previous year.

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