Visitor numbers expected to fall - tourism bosses

An aerial photo
However one attraction owner said he was seeing "very good numbers" this week [BBC]

A mixture of wet weather, the cost of living crisis and people holidaying abroad means estimated tourism numbers in Devon and Cornwall are down for half-term week, a tourism boss has said.

Visit Cornwall chairman Malcolm Bell said numbers for tourism in Devon and Cornwall were expected to be between 15% and 20% down on a normal year.

He said the number of people coming for trips during the recent half-term holiday was expected to be about 102,000 and those staying nights estimated at about 495,000.

However Rick Turner, who owns attraction the Big Sheep in Devon, said he was seeing "very good numbers" this week.

'Low confidence'

Mr Turner said he was hoping to be between 10% and 20% up by the end of the week, and overall up on last year.

He cited local people visiting the attraction as a reason his numbers may have been up.

He said: "People are looking to give themselves a treat this half-term."

A photo of Ernie
Ernie Elsworth-Wilson is the general manager at South Devon Railway [BBC]

Ernie Elsworth-Wilson, the general manager at South Devon Railway, said he had also seen an increase in footfall.

He said: "We're up on the half-term from May last year and I think Tuesday is one of the busiest days we've ever had this time of year."

Mr Bell said the weather was a factor in how many people would visit the counties.

He said: "The weather's been usable but it's not been brilliant.

"We are affected by the weather and we just have to live with it."

Sally Everton, from Visit Devon, said she had spoken to a number of businesses and owners had reported numbers were lower than 2023.

She said: "There have been a number of cancellations across the county due to the national media coverage on the cryptosporidium situation, reporting Devon rather than just the tiniest part - namely Brixham - that actually is affected."

She added: "The reporting has now become a little more accurate, saying south Devon and Brixham.”

Follow BBC Cornwall on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook and Instagram. Follow BBC Devon on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook and Instagram. Send your story ideas to

More on this story