1. ITV Report

Tourism industry suffering after Somerset floods

The floodwater on the Somerset Levels may be long gone but the knock-on effects of the winter crisis are still being felt by the tourism industry.

It's worth around a billion pounds to the county's economy and supports 30,000 jobs but, as the holidays begin, some businesses say trade is down 25%.

At the family-run Brean Leisure Park, the holidays have begun - schools further north have broken up already and caravan parks are busy but business overall is down and Richard House from Brean Leisure Park says the memory of the floods is to blame.

They still think Somerset is a no-go area. We've suffered very much from a lack of tents and touring caravans which are last minute and also they're worried about being flooded and so it has had a knock-on effect.

– Richard House, Brean Leisure Park
Investments are being made in Somerset's tourism industry Credit: ITV West Country

They're investing in their business here - a new indoor play area, delayed by months because of the bad weather in the winter, should be open this weekend. There's a new extension to the splash pool complex on the way too, all helping to expand a business which now employs around 250 people. Smaller scale businesses, working on tighter margins, are feeling the effects much more acutely.

Some businesses are reporting a 25% drop in trade, partly down to the fact that the floods were at their height just when people were booking their holidays and they simply chose to go elsewhere.

Des Chalmers, a Guest House owner, says they have been unusually quiet for the time of year.

It's changed significantly since the floods and I think that's had an adverse effect on us. In August, very few bookings. We should really be full by this stage of the game. There seems to be a pattern of people coming at weekends, spending Friday and Saturday but midweek bookings are very few and far between.

– Des Chalmers, Guest House owner
Holidaymakers enjoying the sun at West super Mare Credit: ITV West Country

Tourists enjoying the sunshine said they weren't put off visiting the area. The President of the Somerset Tourism Association says it's important to let people know that Somerset is back up and running, despite the damage suffered earlier in the year.

Somerset's looking very good at the moment and there's lots of investment from the tourism industry to actually attract more people to the county which is responsible for employing over 30 thousand jobs and brings in a billion pounds worth of income every year. It's important that we make sure the message gets out from Somerset to the rest of the UK and abroad that Somerset is very much open for business.

– Bob Nicholson, President, Somerset Tourism Association

Local business owners hope that the sunny weather will continue, and tempt a few more people to make last minute bookings as the holidays season gets underway.