Page last updated at 11:28 GMT, Saturday, 3 January 2009

Village offers euro for the pound

Dunster, Somerset
Traders in the village are trying to attract more European visitors

Some businesses in a Somerset village have begun accepting the euro on a par with the pound in a bid to lure more continental visitors.

Dunster's Yarn Market Hotel, was first to introduce the euro-for-pound rate just before Christmas.

Owner Antony Brunt said he was inspired by a mini-boom experienced in Northern Ireland in recent months.

Shoppers in the Irish Republic flocked across the border to take advantage of the drop in the value of sterling.

Wonderful opportunity

"I saw that there was a degree of traffic from southern Ireland to Northern Ireland before Christmas when similar offers were made to match the pound for the euro," said Mr Brunt, who is also chairman of Exmoor Tourist Association.

"Everyone's been talking about doom and gloom in the tourism industry. I think if you're proactive and get what business is out there, it can turn the current climate into a success.

"We started just before Christmas and it's been great. At this particular time, there are not a lot of Europeans here, but we had some from the Netherlands who left yesterday who were well pleased.

"I think there is a great market in Europe. England is a lot cheaper now, there's a new horizon where they can explore England at a lower cost. It's a wonderful opportunity for UK tourism."

A number of other businesses in the village are also offering the straight euro-for-pound exchange rate.

Mark Phillips, owner of the Coastal Living clothes shop, said: "We do get a lot of European visitors, Italians, Dutch and one or two Germans.

"We've got an impressive Medieval castle here, so they come to visit that.

"So we thought it might be a way to get people to part with their money, with the exchange rate the way it is."



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