South West tourism industry 'could lose more than a billion pounds' as a result of coronavirus lockdown

Thousands of tourism-reliant businesses in the South West are struggling to keep going as the UK enters its seventh weekend in lockdown.

The first May Bank Holiday normally provides a welcome boost, but with restrictions continuing, Visit Somerset is warning losses could rise to over a billion pounds if attractions are forced to stay closed until the end of June.

Owners of the Headlands Hotel in Newquay, John and Carol Armstrong, say they have plenty of ideas on how they can open safely.

Headland Hotel in Newquay Credit: ITV News

It doesn't look good - if we're allowed to open, we will. We've got lots of ideas and a huge amount of space so we can look after a lot of guests with social distancing.

John and Carol Armstrong

Carol Chalmers, owner of Lewinsdale Lodge Guest House in Weston-super-Mare, is also concerned about their future.

We know that we'll be perhaps the last to open and rightly so. We might not be trading til the end of summer, if at all.

Carol Chalmers
Lewinsdale Lodge in Weston-super-Mare Credit: ITV News

The Head of Visit Somerset, John Turner, says the region's tourism industry could miss out on more than a billion pounds by the end of June - and that many businesses require more help.

He said: "Those financial measures and grant funding might need to be extended to ensure we get through this."

Tourist destinations across the West Country are empty. Credit: ITV News

The Head of Visit Cornwall, Malcolm Bell, says a kite-mark safety system is needed around Covid-19.

"Unless a business can prove it can mitigate the risk," she said, "then they shouldn't open but if they can they should, when it is right to do so."

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