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A30 at Temple jammed as biggest influx of tourists for years could be under way

By CGMikeS  |  Posted: July 26, 2014

Comments (9)

THE BIGGEST annual influx of tourists for years could be under way in Cornwall, partly thanks to a tough new schools crackdown on term-time absence.

There are already reports of slow traffic on the A30 westbound at Temple this morning, as this weekend marks the start of the summer operation, Destination West.

The school holidays are crucial to the success of the Cornish tourism industry with more than a million visitors set to spend £1 billion over the next six weeks – around a quarter of the annual amount spent.

Industry bosses say the tough line taken by former Education Secretary Michael Gove on parents taking children out of class has hit the normally booming June market hard, with bed spaces down between 19% and 45%.

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Key figures are planning to lobby the Government to reverse the unpopular edict and businesses hope the high season will be squeezed into July and August, thereby making up for the shortfall.

Malcolm Bell, head of Visit Cornwall, said this year could mark the start of a new phenomenon – “the Gove effect”.

“In the past a lot of parents will have nabbed a few days here and there and taken the kids out of school as teachers turned a blind eye to absences,” he added.

“But because of the school changes we have not had that, and the summer may well be compacted into the next four or five weeks.

“We will have the normal ramp up this weekend, and people should be prepared for a lot more visitors, but it may be more pronounced this year and might take people a bit by surprise.”

In Cornwall, the last week of July and the whole of August makes up 22% of all tourism for the year with 950,000 visitors spending £400 million pounds in the region.

Tourism in the region took a knock in 2012, when prolonged heavy rain made it the second wettest summer on record.

Businesses clawed back some of the losses last year during the heat wave, but bookings were down after storms damaged rail link at Dawlish in February.

Now a new survey shows bed occupancy in June was down 19% and tourist chiefs are convinced the education reforms are to blame.

Richard Smith, general manager at Flambards amusement park, near Helston, said they had seen a noticeable reduction in the numbers of older school children in June and July, though figures had begun to climb this week.

“It has not been drastic but the profile of people coming has been younger kids this year with teenagers not around at the moment,” he added.

“Easter was busy but in June when we would expect it to pick up things were fairly static. People have been saying it is getting stricter to take children out of school and with it being more expensive it is just not something they are prepared to do.”

Locals can expect stiff competition for their favourite beaches throughout the next six weeks with roads, car parks and shops also feeling busier than normal.

Temperatures into the mid-20s this week and long-range forecasts of more good weather to come have raised hopes of a record-breaking season.

The numbers searching the internet for “Cornwall Holidays” have shot up 79%, a holiday form says.

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  • josdave  |  July 27 2014, 11:05PM

    Clearly by all the red arrows a lot of people prepared to carry on putting up with unpleasant unhealthy traffic jams and wanting to cover as much land as possible with concrete.

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  • JeremyBadger  |  July 27 2014, 9:49PM

    Well the picture certainly NOT the A30 at Temple unless ,of course, they have build a massive building, a new slip road and a massive radio/TV transmitter mast on the nearby hilltop in the last few hours. Typical mis-reporting or bad editing by CG.

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  • josdave  |  July 27 2014, 10:50AM

    Another suggestion would be to make a serious effort to reduce the number of cars on the roads. It is a fact that new/wider/better roads only increases the amount of traffic. Successive governments have bowed to the transport lobby and done nothing to increase the amount of freight going onto rail or improving public transport.

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  • DipStick  |  July 26 2014, 3:52PM

    In Holland and France (at least) they stagger the berms/holidays by a week according to geographical district (3 in France I believe). That would make much more sense to spread the "load" a little as regards holidays. But instead of the 'carrott' approach we just get the big 'stick'!! ...DS

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  • Doitdreckley  |  July 26 2014, 12:16PM

    The Conservative Liberal coalition contempt for small business and freedom of choice. Stopping flexibility for reasonable term time holidays and absence means that infrastructure in seaside areas is put under huge strain all at once. Not just the roads. Spotlght reported last night the huge and unusual pressure that A&Es are under, compounded by the hot weather. Businesses have their own resources stretched and then have to eek out an existence the rest of the year, turning away paying customers due to peak demand. The Tories have always banged on about parental choice yet parents have to consume education on the terms of the state, despite being taxpayers. Holidays can be educational. Absences can be unavoidable (family occasions), despite the fact that schools waste a lot of time with sometimes meaningless activities and regulations for the kids.

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  • pramsrmike  |  July 26 2014, 11:43AM

    That is indeed a traffic jam! It's 150 miles from Solstice Park to Temple. Spot-on reporting as usual, Cornish Guardian.

    |   9
  • pramsrmike  |  July 26 2014, 11:37AM

    That's one hell of a queue - Temple all the way back to Stonehenge. 150 miles must be a new world record.

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  • kernow19  |  July 26 2014, 10:58AM

    Well spotted, that is indeed where it is :-))

    |   6
  • JoffDay  |  July 26 2014, 9:49AM

    Err that pic looks remarkably like the A303 at Solstice Park the other side of Stonehenge.

    |   16