Contrasting attitudes to tourism and Covid-19

I had no intention of talking about Coronavirus on the blog, but I was seriously struck by two contrasting attitudes today.  The first concerns the excellent approach of local holiday business Dyfi Cottages, and their online Coronavirus statement, which is impressive because of its simple common sense.   Here’s an excerpt but see the link for the full statement:

Increasingly this week, with continued lack of clarity on what the social distancing measures meant for self-catering cottages, we are now realising that our friends in the community including health care professionals, police and other essential services, are now asking for us to help them by asking people to stop travelling on holiday in the near future. Visit Wales has now also posted advice on their website regarding visitors to Wales: https://www.visitwales.com/coronavirus?fbclid=IwAR0W4XAWOu0S-iM24G3iO5mvo8pATiN48HUAeXvCBF4PVQruwOGUZ-KfFX0

It is for this reason, we are ceasing taking new bookings for the period up to 15th June 2020, we are also asking that any customer with a booking in the properties listed by us and due to depart between now and 30th April 2020 defers their booking or move it to a date later in 2020 or 2021. We are also asking all of our owners to continue to support us in deferring these dates. We expect that we may need to extend this period at some point in the next few weeks, and we will continually monitor and review the situation.

Serious congratulations and thanks to this successful local enterprise run by Paul Fowles for turning away much-wanted business in the short term, because it is the right and sensible thing to do.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution shop, a favourite of mine, has also made the tough, but sensible decision to close its doors at least in the short-term.  It is an excellent cause, a splendid shop run by terrific people.  I look forward to it opening once again when things are safe.

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By contrast, there’s a report today on the BBC website, from which I have lifted the following photograph in Bala, which highlights how day-trippers have been pouring into Wales ignoring all the social distancing protocols that we all know about and should all be observing.  This is short excerpt so do check out the BBC website for the full report: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-51994504

Car parks and trails could be shut to stop people from visiting Snowdonia National Park after “unprecedented scenes”, according to bosses.  There were so many people on mountain summits on Saturday it was “impossible to maintain effective social distancing” . . . . Welsh ministers are considering their legal powers to force people to stay away during the coronavirus outbreak.

Deputy Economy and Transport Minister Lee Waters said some people were “pretending everything is normal” at a time when hospitals were “turning canteens into spillover intensive care units”.  It comes as seven more people in Wales died after contracting the virus, taking the total number of deaths to 12.

There have already been calls from local politicians and medics to encourage second home owners and caravan owners to stay away from Wales’ holiday hotspots, where some people have travelled to self-isolate.  They also urged them to adhere to guidance on social distancing to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Local residents of Bala, only an hour’s drive away, were quite clearly very upset by the influx, and took peaceable measures to inhibit it, as the above report, and the photograph showing a vehicle and a trailer parked across the entrance to the lake’s main carpark, demonstrate.

I didn’t venture down into Aberdovey today, although I seriously enjoyed the sunshine on my balcony, so I don’t know whether it was any better than the rest of Wales, but I suspect that it will be difficult to keep the crowds away when the weather is like this, unless the government, local community groups, businesses and responsible members of the public can ram it home that social distancing will save lives.

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