Coronavirus: Tier changes 'stressful and confusing' for tourism

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The Crantock Bay Apartments have had cancellations and fear there could be more

Tourism businesses say they are "frustrated and tired" of changes to coronavirus restrictions which alter the way they are able to operate.

There are about 34 million people living under tier three restrictions, meaning they should not travel from tier three areas.

In Cornwall, which is tier one, hotels have reported last minute cancellations from people no longer allowed to visit.

The head of Visit Cornwall said it was a "very stressful and confusing time".

'Difficult phone calls'

Malcolm Bell said: "We are having more cancellations, but also more confusion.

"It is very difficult for businesses to stay on top of it, and do their part by contacting people coming from different areas.

"There is growing stress, anxiety and friction between customers and businesses who are having to make very difficult phone calls."

He added that "it is not clear what is the law and what is just guidance and there are big rows going on over that."

Nina Eyles of the Crantock Bay Apartments near Newquay said they received two cancellations within minutes of the new announcements, with six more "up in the air".

It might leave them with just three of 11 apartments occupied but "we are hoping we may get some last minute bookings from tier two customers, but there is not much time."

Image source, Jake Easthham
Image caption,
There are eight Pig hotels and 65% of bookings in December are from London

Robin Hutson, chief executive of Pig Hotels said: "Around 65% of bookings over the next few weeks are from London addresses.

"There have been some cancellations but we have also picked up some bookings from people who were planning on going to London.

"It is too early to assess the full impact.

"At worst it could be pretty catastrophic if 65% of our bookings decide to cancel."

The company has eight hotels located within all three current tiers, including the Pig at Harlyn Bay near Padstow which opened in July.

Mr Hutson said: "It has been an exhausting year. Every couple of weeks there is another twist and turn.

"The hospitality sector feels victimised and very badly let down as we are the only lever the government wants to pull."

A government spokesperson said: "The COVID-19 Winter Plan puts forward our programme for suppressing the virus by targeting regional growth in infections, protecting the NHS and the vulnerable, keeping education and the economy going, and providing a route back to normality.

"We have introduced an unprecedented package of targeted support measures to help the tourism industry through this difficult period, including the job retention scheme, a business rates holiday and a £4bn reduction in VAT."

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