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Friday, 25 May, 2001, 12:27 GMT 13:27 UK
Yorkshire fears for tourism trade
Bainbridge, Yorkshire
Footpaths are re-opening ahead of holiday weekend
Many footpaths shut by foot-and-mouth are re-opening in time for the bank holiday weekend but tourism in north Yorkshire has been hit by new cases of the disease.

The area's tourism industry has suffered a surge of cancelled holiday bookings caused by fears about these new cases.

One caravan park in north Yorkshire described bookings as "flat" when they are usually "overwhelmed" in the run-up to what should be one of its busiest weekends.

Click here for map showing foot-and-mouth cases in the past week.

I think this year's tourist season has had it now

Peter Damborough
caravan site worker
Knight Stainforth Hall caravan and camping park near Settle saw a "tremendous amount" of cancellations over Easter, which looks set to be repeated this bank holiday.

Peter Damborough, who works at the site, said: "We had a couple from Norfolk who cancelled, saying they didn't want to come into an affected area and go back home to an area where it's clear of foot-and-mouth.

Bookings halved

"A lot of walkers have cancelled.

"This coming week is the busiest of the year and we are usually 90-95% full over the whole week and 100% full for the weekend.

"This year we don't expect to get 80% for the weekend and next week I would be surprised if we got to 50% capacity.

"I think this year's tourist season has had it now."

This is not an isolated example.

Country scene
North Yorkshire: Walkers have spurned the Dales
The Riverside Caravan Park at High Bentham, north Yorkshire, has also suffered a downturn in bookings.

Proprietor Bateman Marshall said: "At this time of the year we expect to be overwhelmed with bookings for the touring side of the caravan park.

"We had several cancellations yesterday because of foot-and-mouth. It's better than Easter, but the bookings for the week are down."

Tourist attractions

The Yorkshire Tourist Board has refused to give up on holidaymakers, stressing that virtually all the main tourist attractions are open.

Even in Settle, where the recent outbreaks have been centred, all the hotels and attractions are open for business.

Tourist board spokeswoman Lesley Young said: "All we are asking people to do is the same as usual: you can't walk on footpaths in the countryside, you have to observe the restrictions.

"The Yorkshire Dales national park covers 700 square miles and Settle is just a small part of it."
Burnsall, Yorkshire Dales
Bank holiday weekend should mean lots of trade

Other areas affected by foot-and-mouth restrictions, including Devon, Cornwall and the Peak District, are re-opening footpaths to the public for the first time since the outbreak took hold in February.

On Dartmoor, a number of circular walks are re-opening and a complete re-opening of the national park is scheduled for 1 July.

The coastal path in Cornwall, which is popular with walkers, is also opening again this weekend.

Officials are set to re-open most footpaths in the Peak District at the weekend and parts of the High Fells in the Lake District are due to re-open in early June.

Overall, however, almost 80% of rural footpaths in the UK remain shut.

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