Eden Project bosses say tourism returning is 'essential' for Cornwall

The Eden Project is in a reclaimed china clay pit near St. Blazey and St. Austell. Credit: ITV West Country

Cornwall's Eden Project is encouraging people to plan ahead for the summer saying that the tourism will be vital for their business - despite Government warnings for the public to hold back on booking holidays.

Bosses at the world famous tourist attraction say they are hopeful they can match the number of visitors they had in 2020 whilst following the latest government advice.

David Harland, Chief Executive of the Eden Project, told ITV News West Country: "Our message to people who want to come to Cornwall is that they should plan to come. We all know that tourism is really important within Cornwall - one in five jobs and so on.

"At The Eden Project we're optimistic about the summer. We're cautiously optimistic. And of course it comes with the caveat that people should make sure that they listen to the advice.

But we're very hopeful that people will be able to come down and enjoy the summer."

The Eden Project is currently closed during lockdown. Credit: ITV News West Country

It comes as tourism bosses in Devon and Cornwall are backing the police message to holidaymakers not to travel to the region during next week's half-term school holiday.

However, looking forward to the summer, Eden Project bosses say that as long as the lockdown is over tourism will be vital for their survival.

Mr Harland said: "Tourism returning is obviously essential for businesses like ours, and all of the other tourism businesses and indeed the wider supply chain that relies on those.

"The truth is that without the big summer season - businesses are going to really struggle and we won't be exempt from that."

The visitor attraction in St Blazey is reliant on summer revenue.

Mr Harland added: "While the furlough scheme is there, that obviously takes off some of the pressure. But there's a limit for every business, there's a limit.

"I think one has to remember that the summer season is the focus, and last year we saw that extended to September and into October.

"And what I think we're seeing, and what we'll see again is that if we can get open for that period, we can really help the economic part of the country and let's hope that the health bit of the programme is also there alongside it."

A government coronavirus adviser told ITV News last week that life in the UK will be "getting much more back to normal" by the end of spring.

Andrew Hayward, who sits on the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said once the top four priority groups have been vaccinated, which the government hopes to achieve by mid-February, then hospital figures and mortality may fall enough "to allow some easing of restrictions, depending on the epidemiological situation at the time".