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Friday, 7 September, 2001, 06:27 GMT 07:27 UK
Foot-and-mouth visitor survey blow
Countryside
Most of the countryside is now open
A survey has revealed that almost a quarter of people believe the English countryside is "closed" because of the foot-and-mouth crisis.

In fact, nearly all visitor attractions and 90% of footpaths are open again.

The report from the English Tourism Council shows that 35% of those questioned believed it was not possible to go for walks.

The Lake District
Some fear they could spread the disease
The survey was conducted in late August.

Other findings were:

  • 32% said they would not visit the countryside because of health risks associated with burning animal carcasses.

  • 35% thought they could not enjoy going to the countryside because they would see the destruction and disposal of animals as a result of foot-and-mouth.

  • 24% believed that "most places in the countryside are closed at the moment"

  • 79% said "there is no problem visiting the countryside provided you keep away from farm animals"

  • The number of people saying they intended to visit the countryside in the next month increased slightly from 42% in mid-June to 48%

  • Most people planned day trips rather than short breaks or longer holidays.

    'Long-lasting doubts'

    English Tourism Council chief executive Mary Lynch said: "There are clearly some long-lasting doubts in people's minds about going to the countryside on holiday.

    "Visitors will have to be actively brought back if we're to reach the levels of rural tourism that existed before the foot-and-mouth outbreak."

    The survey was published a day after the Office for National Statistics said the UK tourism industry had shown signs of recovery.

    A survey showed that the number of overseas visitors rose in May, although they were still down on the same time last year.

    It represents a big improvement on April - the worst month for tourism since records began - when the epidemic was at its height.

  • See also:

    04 Sep 01 | Business
    P&O may cut loss-making ferries
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