How the West Country is recovering ahead of what could be its busiest summer

  • Watch Alex Wood's report.

The West Country is preparing for what could be one of its busiest summers with a number of people expected to choose staycations over holidays abroad because of the pandemic.

Over the bank holiday weekend, there were huge queues on the M5 as thousands of people tried flocking to the South West to enjoy some nice weather.

With large parts of Devon and Cornwall being very busy, a number of visitors were welcomed by businesses in Somerset instead.

It is hoped that the weekend and half-term will help boost the recovery of the economy in the region.

Holidaymakers have flocked to the West Country to enjoy the weather over half term.

The large crowds in Minehead and other areas have been praised by the chief executive of Visit Somerset who said that the money spent during the busy period would be vital to securing the future of the tourism sector in the area.

"One year ago I was telling people not to come to Somerset. It was one of the most bizarre bits of communication I have done in my life so to see people coming back and to see people spending money is just great," he said.

"Every pound you spend in our county goes towards the visitor economy which is vitally important for us in the future."

John Turner of Visit Somerset said that it was great to see people back and enjoying the nice weather in the area.

Further down the coast, in Cornwall some business owners have said they are already receiving calls from people wanting to book things for August.

Richard and Nicky Smith own Pirates Quest Adventure Golf in Newquay and they are saying they have seen huge numbers of people wanting to book and visit.

"It has been a really stressful time, when it is closed I always say it feels like a Scooby-Doo theme park," Richard said.

"When we get people coming in now it is just wonderful to hear them enjoying it and the kids running around."

Richard and Nicky Smith said that they had seen an increase in demand over recent weeks.

"We are already getting booked for the summer which is really surprising to us. It does give us a lot of confidence as people are looking to book so far ahead," Nicky said.

Some businesses across the region are saying that they have seen an increase of around 250% on numbers from 2019 which is actually pre-pandemic numbers. But it is feared it may take up to three years until the whole region's tourism sector has fully recovered.

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