The UK is home to a number of stunning holiday hotspots, ideal for a domestic retreat. Given the current coronavirus restrictions around the world, it is likely even once lockdown is lifted, international travel may be a long way off, which is why around 90 percent of Britons are gearing up for a staycation.
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However, their travel dreams could be set for ruin after government officials suggested some much-loved beach towns and areas of natural beauty could remain off-limits to outsiders.
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove told MPs that the public should stay away from popular destinations such as Cornwall, Devon and Snowdonia, “at the moment and for some time to come”.
In the early days of lockdown, beachside towns and areas of natural beauty such as the Lake District and Peak District reported a sudden increase in foot traffic, prompting local police to step up patrols in these areas.
However, many Britons had hoped that once the UK government deems it safe enough to loosen restrictions, domestic tourism might have a resurgence.
New statistics from CabinBookers found that 86 percent of hopeful holidaymakers were gearing up for an escape to some of the country’s most scenic nature spots.
According to the research eight in 10 people said their “appreciation for UK beauty spots had increased while under lockdown”.
Yet the most recent comments by Mr Gove could well dash any hopes of imminent breaks.
Furthermore, residents of local areas including Cornwall and Snowdonia have also reportedly begun to resurrect homemade signs warning tourists not to visit while coronavirus is still prominent.
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Tory MP for St Austell and Newquay, Steve Double, emphasised the importance of safety to people in these regions.
He said: “One of the biggest concerns of people in Cornwall is that as we start to ease the lockdown, we will start to see an influx of people coming to Cornwall and risk another wave.
“So can my right honourable friend assure me that as the Government considers lifting the restrictions, it will come with clear and enforceable travel restrictions to prevent this from happening?”
Mr Gove reassured the people of the popular beach region, saying: “Cornwall is beautiful, visiting it is a pleasure, but at the moment and for some time to come, don’t.”
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Offering a more promising outlook, Mr Gove suggested that knowing about whether coronavirus spreads easier inside than outside ‘will be an important factor” when it comes to deciding how and when stringent lockdown will end.
Restarting domestic tourism is vital for the industry, which has already suffered monumental losses since the lockdown measures were introduced.
VisitBritain has forecast a 54 percent drop in overseas visits to the UK and a 55 percent fall in spending to £11.6billion.
VisitBritain chief executive Patricia Yates has explained how important British citizens will be in rebooting the industry.
“This time last year our Easter tourism survey showed record numbers of us had been planning a holiday at home, estimated to have brought a £1.8billion boost to the economy.
“This year has seen domestic and global travel brought to a standstill.”
she added: “For now, stay at home, follow the UK Government advice and enjoy your travelling online.
“If you have a favourite hotel or restaurant or attraction you could buy a voucher for a future visit to help with cash flow.
“And of course when Government advice changes and we are once more allowed to roam consider revisiting or exploring somewhere new and having an extra holiday at home.
“Our tourist sector is one of the most vibrant and successful in the world – it needs you to make sure it bounces back once more.”
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