Easter tourism 'better than expected' as businesses hope for much-needed spring boost

ITV News' Sam Blackledge spoke to St Ives traders as the Easter holidays kick off

The Easter holidays are well underway - and despite the changeable weather, West Country tourism bosses say footfall has been better than expected.

The Visit Cornwall chairman explained that the Easter break is vital to the region's economy and that traders and holidaymakers are hoping the rain stays away this fortnight.

Malcolm Bell says Easter is a 'litmus test' of how much money people are spending. Credit: ITV News

Malcolm Bell said: "I think the thing about Easter is it gives you the first taste of what the consumer is doing.

"It gives everybody an idea of the cost of living and other issues, and whether the normal patterns are there or there's a nuance in them.

"Which helps you then decide on what you can charge, or change in the menu. So it's a good boost of money, but it's a good litmus test of where the consumer is."

Kim Hambleton says businesses have been through a tough period. Credit: ITV News

Buisnesses like Just Lily in St Ives are in need of a boost after a gruelling few years.

Owner Kim Hambleton said: "It's pretty tricky at the moment. It's been a tough for everybody through the winter.

"We're hoping it's going to pick up, but you've just got to stay strong, stay focused and now we're in the good times."

Simon Townsend, general manager of the Eden Project, said: "Easter has been really busy, a great start to the holidays.

"We're really happy with it. We had a good year last year, up about 14 per cent on the year before. And so we can see that slow trend coming out of Covid for the last couple of years."