Businesses in Cornwall are set to go bust as eight out of ten of them rely on tourism and with the lockdown they face losing during the peak period of July and August.
Malcolm Bell, chief executive of Visit Cornwall, said if the lockdown is not lifted by the summer then businesses will have reached the point of no return.
Bell estimates that Cornwall tourism industry could be set back by over £1bn, if businesses are not allowed to open in the summer.
He told Sky News, “For the worst-case scenario, which we hope will never happen, if this went through to August, we would be talking about £1.2bn worth of loss.
“According to our research it would be the end of 80% of the businesses.”
Bell said, “Many businesses are at their lowest cash point – they’ve gone through their winter eking out the cash.
“It’s actually worse than that, many businesses are close to their overdraft limit and of course now not only is no money coming in, you’ve got customers wanting their money back.
“Many businesses invested heavily during the winter.”
He said, “Two-thirds of income is made in spring and summer.”
Cornwall’s council leader Rob Nolan said, “We are hearing that many people who have booked accommodation directly with holiday businesses have agreed that, rather than cancel their intended visit which was due to have taken place during the lockdown period, they will change dates or keep the booking open until the current lockdown is lifted.”
“These voluntary arrangements show that many customers are keen to have a holiday in Cornwall to look forward to once the current restrictions are lifted.
“By being flexible they have in-turn helped those businesses who are affected due to the financial impact of the current situation.
“Holiday accommodation businesses value their customers so will be working with them to give them the best possible service, but things may take a bit longer than usual to sort out because of the unprecedented situation we all find ourselves in.”