Mon 5th March 2012

The spiraling cost of UK fuel prices could seriously damage Cornwall’s tourist industry this year according to holiday specialist West Cornwall Cottage Holidays.

With analysts predicting that diesel prices will widely hit £1.50 a litre, with one service station on the M6 in Coventry already selling diesel at this price, West Cornwall Cottage Holidays MD Austyn Hallworth says wider fears that the price increases could take hundreds of motorists off the road for all but essential travel could hit Cornwall’s tourism industry hard.

Such is the concern that UK tourists will stay off the road in increasing numbers that the Penzance-based company has teamed up with supermarket giant Morrison’s to launch a promotion offering free petrol and diesel vouchers worth up to £250 for customers booking one of the company’s properties* for a stay during March and April.

According to Mr Hallworth, with 2012 bookings already being affected with slower than average figures, a further fuel price hike will have a very serious impact with UK ‘travel to’ destinations such as Cornwall in danger of being overlooked by money-conscious Britons.

“As a nation, we are still deep in recession mode and people – particularly families  - are really struggling and looking for value for money holidays and quite frankly people are getting sick and tired of fuel and food prices rising almost constantly.

“Whilst we have a fantastic holiday destination, the majority of our UK visitors travel to Cornwall by car often having round trips of hundreds of miles and we think there is a very real and present danger that people will vote with their pockets and decide to either holiday closer to home in Devon or Dorset or just not go away because the price of fuel is a massive add-on cost to the holiday,” said Austyn.

“People are simply getting to the point of sheer frustration when they see the prices at the pumps continually soaring and finally saying enough’s enough! From talking to other holiday companies in Cornwall they are seeing the same trends in that bookings are lower and slower than in previous years and it won’t be just the accommodation provider that will suffer – it will be the thousands of businesses that rely on tourism in Cornwall – including food and drink retailers to visitor attractions. If just 10% of the usual visitors to Cornwall vote with their pockets and decide not to come the impact could be massive,” he added

With the average cost of renting a two bedroom property in West Cornwall for a week during the Easter period approx £500 the promotion will provide a £100 discount voucher, meaning the average family in a medium saloon car travelling from London to Penzance (570 miles return) would be able to travel for free*.

The promotional vouchers can be used in either the general supermarket or its petrol station’s in any of the 455 branches throughout the UK.

“The promotion is borne out of a very real concern and we have to do something to ease the burden of driving down to Cornwall for our clients and reduce any possible reason they may have to opt for a closer to home destination,” sad Austyn.

For more information visit www.westcornwallcottageholidays.com or call them on 01736 368575.

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