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The future of tourism in the West Country

  • by JW

This vital part of the economy could be one of the last industries to reopen fully.


As reported in a recent news post, Devon is largely a ‘tourism-driven economy’, and as such will need to prepare for the collapse in the tourist industry.

The county will be “worst hit by the expected wave of unemployment following the coronavirus pandemic, according to forecasts suggesting the economic burden of Covid-19 is set to be spread unevenly”:

UK tourism hotspots could face worst of post-lockdown job losses |

In fact, the prognosis is worse:

Data shows jobs in Devon are ‘most at risk’ throughout UK |


As we look to the future, there are already proposals in place in other parts of the country:

Is this the future of tourism? How York plans to make visitors walk one-way down its famous street The Shambles to ensure social distancing after lockdown |


And in other tourist areas of the world, they are thinking how the future will have to look:

Hygiene, social distancing new priorities in post-pandemic tourism |


Whilst the New York Times today asks the big questions:


The Future of Travel

How the industry will change after the pandemic.

By every measure, the coronavirus pandemic has decimated the travel industry.

The images of the world’s shutdown are eerie, the numbers are staggering. 

Regions and countries are beginning to open up, but the outbreak will undoubtedly change how we think, act and travel, at least in the short term.

Yet the desire to travel will not go away: In a recent survey by Skift Research, the research arm of the travel trade publication, one-third of Americans said they hope to travel within three months after restrictions are lifted.

To learn how the landscape might change, we talked to dozens of experts, from academics to tour operators to airport architects. Across the board, they highlighted issues of privacy and cleanliness and the push-pull of people wanting to see the world while also wanting to stay safe. Here, answers to 14 of the most pressing questions about travel’s future.

The Future of Travel |


Meanwhile, back in the UK, there is speculation ahead of the Prime Minister’s announcement at the weekend as to how things will be gradually unlocked – including in the key West Country industry of tourism:


What happens next in Devon and Cornwall as the next lockdown phases are prepared

New ‘social bubbles’ will be introduced, wearing masks will be the new norm and everybody will be told to use the NHS phone app contact checker

As Prime Minister Boris Johnson prepares to unveil plans for what happens next in the Covid-19 crisis, we take a look at how Devon and Cornwall will look in the next few months.

The future is looking harsh for the region with tourism and hospitality forming the backbone of the economy and the sector facing the most unanswered questions.

Tourism and hospitality

Sadly for the South West this vital part of the economy could be one of the last industries to reopen fully. Spaced out tables, screens between customers, paper menus…there are just some of the ideas being thrown around about how the restaurant trade will reopen.

In Parliament Michael Gove told MPs that “at the moment and for some time to come” members of the public should not travel to visit popular seaside resorts.

Cornwall’s tourism chief Malcolm Bell says said that any opening up of the holiday industry would have to be gradual. “You don’t suddenly want five million visitors from across the UK and abroad descending on us. But what’s wrong with somebody from Devon going to a Cornish holiday park? We are both relatively low-risk areas.”

The only alternative would be a huge injection of government cash – in the region of £1 billion for Devon and Cornwall – to mothball the tourism industry until 2021, Mr Bell said.

Andrew Baragwanath, owner of Ayr Holiday Park in St Ives  suggests a staged plan: “If for example someone from Truro wanted a couple of days away in St Ives and maintained social distancing measures, the risk to the Royal Cornwall Hospital being overcrowded wouldn’t be much different to as it is now.But if we suddenly allowed people from a coronavirus hotspot to travel in one go, then the risk of overloading the hospitals down here is much greater a s there are more people.”

What happens next in Devon and Cornwall as the next lockdown phases are prepared |


photo: Sidmouth … relax by the sea. | That’s enough of my jolly h… | Flickr