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Somerset tourism hit by flood fears
CONCERNS are mounting that Burnham’s summer holiday trade could be hit by a mistaken belief among tourists that the area is affected by flooding.
Despite weeks of fine weather, and the fact that most of Somerset was barely affected by the floods even at the height of the crisis on the Levels during the winter, traders say the peak school holiday season could be hit by negative ideas about flooding.
According to one trader, many people who have come to Burnham have reacted with surprise that all is up in running in the holiday town and the surrounding Somerset holiday spots.
Tourism bosses at Sedgemoor District Council also said this week that bookings in the region have been “seriously damaged” by bizarre, outdated ideas about flooding still being a problem, even though only two per cent of the county had been affected and Burnham seafront wasn’t hit at all.
Sonia Fudge, at Bay View Cafe on the Esplanade, said: “We have had a great start to the season and it’s been significantly better than last year but we are concerned that maybe that some people will not come over the next few weeks, which should be peak season, because they still think we are flooded.
“I must have had at least 40 people come in here in the last eight weeks and say ‘oh I thought you’d be closed due to the floods.’ “Obviously it is not a problem now, but people don’t seem to have got the message.”
Mark Howes, who runs Aubyn’s Guest House on Berrow Road, said the fine weather should have given him extra bookings this year but that had not happened.
He said: “Yes I think the flooding publicity has affected things. We have had the best summer weather probably for about five years but we haven’t had extra bookings which I think is down to the flooding.
“We used to get a lot of passing trade from people knocking on our door but we haven’t had that. The school holidays are starting next week but we haven’t seen an increase like I would expect.”
Vicky Banham, tourism officer at Sedgemoor District Council, said: “I know the flooding has seriously dented bookings for some of our tourism providers – all those pictures of submerged gates.”