Page last updated at 11:18 GMT, Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Divers splashing out on festival

Festival bosses want to attract people to the festival and the sport

More than 2,000 people from around Britain are expected to take part in a diving festival on a beach in Cornwall.

Divefest 2009 is being held at Pentewan, near Mevagissey, for a weekend of events in the middle of May.

It has been welcomed by tourism officials who said it could be a valuable early season boost for the county's holiday industry.

If successful, it could become an annual event and boost the local economy by about 500,000 a year.

Divefest, which will be held from 15 May to 17 May, is being modelled on big surfing events which attract thousands of people to the Cornish coast.

It will offer trips to wrecks in dive boats, as well as hosting trade stands, music, a treasure hunt and a chance for novices to try diving for the first time.

Festivals like this are really key to maintaining business

Teresa Timms, Visit Cornwall

Tamsin Salliss, who is to co-ordinate diving activities, said the area near the host beach was good for divers.

She said: "The diving in the local and St Austell area is fantastic. You've got wrecks and reefs out there, and there's something, importantly, to suit everybody, from those just starting to those more experienced."

Teresa Timms, from Visit Cornwall, said the timing was very good for the tourist industry.

She said: "It's a great time of the year as far as Cornwall is concerned, because, between the two May bank holidays - the early Bank Holiday and the Spring Bank Holiday - we always see a nosedive in business levels.

"Festivals like this are really key to maintaining business at a level which is going to give the industry a real boost."

The British Sub Aqua Club said it hoped the festival would also attract new recruits to the sport.

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