Cornwall and Isle of Wight continue to welcome Tier 2 visitors – tourism heads

By Megan Baynes, PA
·3-min read

Cornwall and the Isle of Wight said they still “welcome visitors” from Tier 2 areas, despite concerns people may travel there to take advantage of looser coronavirus restrictions.

Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and Isles of Scilly are the only three regions to have been placed in Tier 1 — which has some of the loosest restrictions and allows households to mix indoors up to a maximum of six people.

Chief executive of Visit Isle of Wight Will Myles told the PA news agency: “We are not actively promoting saying that people from various different tiers should visit the island, but travel the ‘wight’ way and do the right thing.

“People from Tier 2, if they are coming should be adhering to Tier 2 restrictions.”

The organisation is working with the local council to promote safe travel.

Mr Myles said: “We are not saying stop and don’t come, but we are not actively rushing out there and saying come and visit the island.

“But our businesses are here and they need that support, so come and enjoy them, there’s no problem with that whatsoever.”

Anyone travelling from a Tier 2 area has to follow the same rules as the area they came from, including a ban on household mixing indoors.

Those living under Tier 3 restrictions have been asked not to travel to any Tier 1 region.

Keith Greenfield, chief executive of Wightlink — one of the two major Isle of Wight ferry operators — said this year’s Christmas crossings would be quieter.

Tolcarne beach
Tolcarne beach in Newquay (Ben Birchall/PA)

He said: “It is by no means a huge rush, but lots of people will have been waiting to travel.

“There are lots of second homeowners and people who come here regularly, I imagine, for Christmas who have been waiting to see if they are allowed to travel and they are now booking. There has been a small rise, but it’s not dramatic.”

He said it was not the job of the ferry companies to restrict movement — despite some complaints from locals that crossings be for essential travel only — but said the island is reliant on visitors “respecting the rules”.

Each ferry operates strict social distancing on board, and some crossings have sailed with just a few hundred passengers, despite a capacity for 1,100.

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

Malcolm Bell, chief executive of Visit Cornwall, said the county had only seen a 10% rise in visitor numbers following last week’s announcement that it would be one of only three parts of England to be placed into Tier 1 rules.

Following the lifting of the first national lockdown in July, traffic to the area “doubled overnight”, Mr Bell said.

However, he said fears of an influx to the area this time had yet to be realised.

He told the PA news agency: “We coped with 180,000-200,000 extra people in August.

“The maximum we would talk about this time of year is 20,000 if that. So people would be welcome as long as they abide by the rules, and the age profiles of people visiting this time of year, they are likely to be most compliant.”

Mr Bell said: “For the pubs, it’s better in Cornwall because locals can go without having to eat a substantial meal or a Scotch egg any time they buy a pint.

“The challenge comes in the evening when you live near the border — because people can walk across the boundary.

“But you can tend to spot visitors.”

Devon and Cornwall Police have launched 10 extra patrol cars.

A spokesperson for the force said their “sole purpose will be to respond to Covid-related matters and these vehicles are additional to current response levels”.