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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 August, 2004, 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK
Flooding 'to devastate tourism'
Hotel in Boscastle
About 90% of Boscastle's economy is dependent on tourism
Cornish tourism chiefs are fearing "devastation" of the local economy after the flash floods in Boscastle.

About 90% of Boscastle's economy is dependent on tourism and, as the village remains closed to visitors, industry experts expect the worst.

More than 20 accommodation providers have been forced to shut, many of them individually-owned bed and breakfasts.

Tim Jones, chairman of the Devon and Cornwall Business Council, said the village will take months to recover.

He told BBC News Online: "The village is effectively closed in our judgement.

Damage

"The problem for Boscastle is that, similar to many villages in north Cornwall, it is almost totally dependent on tourism.

"There is a small fishing industry but apart from that there is nothing to fall back on."

He also said that, while most properties will be insured against damage, some businesses may not have insured against lost trade.

The floods on Monday, which were caused by 6cm (2ins) of rainfall in a two-hour period, could not have come at a worse time.

People overseas have seen pictures of the terrible conditions in Boscastle and have got the impression that the whole of Cornwall is under water
Teresa Timms, of the Cornwall Tourist Board

It is estimated up to two-thirds of the yearly business in the picturesque village is done during the six-week school holidays.

Art shop owner Tim Lamin said he would lose 60% of his annual income and the floods had caused 30,000 of damage.

North Cornwall District Council is looking into setting up a disaster fund for the village.

But the floods may also have an impact across the rest of the county.

More than one million people visit north Cornwall each year, bringing 225m into the local economy.

Images

Mr Jones said: "The images seen on television of the floods will stick in people's minds.

"We are going to have to work very hard to restore confidence."

Steve Kessell, tourism officer for North Cornwall Tourism, the marketing organisation for the local area, said: "We are very worried about the implications for Boscastle. It is one of the nicest areas of north Cornwall and it will find it hard to recover.

Boscastle was one of north Cornwall's most popular spots

"We will have to keep an eye on whether there is a knock-on effect to other areas."

But there are already signs that people are having doubts about visiting north Cornwall.

Cornwall Tourist Board public relations manager Teresa Timms said: "People overseas have seen pictures of the terrible conditions in Boscastle and have got the impression that the whole of Cornwall is under water.

"Even people in the UK who are due to stay as far as 50 miles from Boscastle have been contacting us, worried about their holidays. They don't seem to realise that the problem is very localised and the rest of the county is fine."

Cancelled

Chris Johnson, who runs the Tremorvah B&B, said: "You knew immediately that the whole place has gone and won't open again until the spring.

"All our guests who would be staying here this week and in the immediate future have rung and cancelled. It's not feasible for tourists to come here anyway, the whole village is a building site."

But amazingly a few visitors have decided to stick it out.

Hauke Fath, 40, from Germany, said he was planning to stay for the rest of his 10-day trip.

"I've got books to read and I can walk out when it stops raining. It's a nice place to walk and relax," he said.

If you are visiting north Cornwall and have concerns you can contact North Cornwall Tourism on 01208 265 632 or by e-mail tourism@ncdc.gov.uk.


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