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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 January, 2004, 13:12 GMT
Region is top holiday spot
Visitors are lured by their childhood memories says the TV programme
The South West has become the top holiday destination for British tourists.

The region has overtaken former hotspots like the Spanish Costas and Greek Islands, according to the Channel 4 programme Britain's Favourite Holiday.

Last year 6,300,000 people braved the M5, hours of traffic and service station food to flee to Devon and Cornwall for their holidays.

In second place were the Costas, with 5,877,000, the Canaries came third with 4,034,000, the Balearics were fourth with 3,811,000, and in fifth place were the Greek Islands, which attracted 2,770,000.

Complacency warning

According to the programme, "Devon and Cornwall have got the lot.

A spokesman said: "They're not just about sun, sea and sand - they're about memories. Our own. Of a simpler time, when we went crabbing, fishing in rock pools and buried Auntie Betty up to her neck in sand.

"And it's all still there. It hasn't changed. No wonder we love it so much."

Tourism bought 2bn into the region last year, according to tourism chiefs, who warned the region should not be complacent.

Malcolm Bell, chief executive of South West Tourism, said: "We might be top of the tree in 2003, but we have to work hard to make sure we are still there in 2006.

"They want to have a holiday that's home from home and we need to make sure it is as enjoyable for them as possible.

"This means making sure we keep up our standards and provide a holiday that just keeps getting better each year."

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