VisitCornwall Chief Asks Islanders To Stop Using ‘Openforbusiness’ Hashtag

hugh town centre buntingCornwall’s tourism chief has asked islanders to stop using the ‘#openforbusiness’ hash tag on Twitter.

Malcolm Bell, who is head of VisitCornwall, was speaking at a Severe Weather Recovery Event, hosted by the Islands’ Partnership on Friday.

He says that message was “absolutely right” in the immediate aftermath of the storms and flooding, which closed the main railway line into the region.

But he says we’ve now had two weeks of fairly dry weather, and other prominent stories in the news means many of our visitors have forgotten about the transport issues.

“Lets not remind them,” he says.

Malcolm says the region lost money during the bad weather, and the lucrative German market in particular has the impression that the area is “still under water,” following the media coverage there.

He says extra effort is needed to change that perception and he’s encouraging journalists from Europe to come and see for themselves.

Malcolm feels it’s important not to lose any Easter bookings and VisitCornwall will be making a “big buzz” about the reopening of the rail line at Dawlish on the 4th April.

It’s also an opportunity for Scilly to remind people that there are plenty of options for travelling here including the ferry and flights.

He said people at trade shows he attended recently in Birmingham and London still think there’s no way to fly to the islands following the end of the helicopter service.

Malcolm says we’ve got to keep getting the message out and not assume people know how to get here.

The government has made £1m available to help promote the tourist industry in the UK following the floods.

Malcolm says VisitCornwall has decided to focus on the best product available here at this time of year, our spring gardens.

And that will include the Abbey Gardens on Tresco.

He says they’d normally spend around 6 months putting together a campaign like this, but they’ve managed to do this in a little over 6 days.

It will be promoted online and in newspapers this week.