Wet summer may shut firms, says Wales Tourism Alliance

The poor summer weather could be the final straw for some businesses in Wales, tourism leaders have warned.

Chris Osborne, chairman of the Wales Tourism Alliance, said the industry was very concerned for its future.

He said businesses were suffering and casualties are likely after another summer of storms and floods.

North and mid Wales have been worst hit by recent rain, but most parts of the country have been affected.

Mr Osborne told BBC Wales: "I don't know if this is as bad as it gets but certainly there are tales of lack of visitors and people very concerned about the future.

"There's an absence of activity in lots of towns because, quite simply, the car parks are empty - the people aren't even coming down for the day."

However, he said it was not "all doom and gloom," with the self-catering sector holding up.

Mr Osborne said it had been a tough year: "We have just come out of the European [Championship] and we're just going into the Olympics, and that's a bit of a distraction.

"And we've hit double-dip recession so the background isn't terribly comfortable, and then you've got all this water on top of that," he said.

'Pretty grim'

"Basically, it means that if businesses were suffering before, they're sure as hell are suffering now and I think it's more than likely there will be some casualties."

Ashford Price, chairman of National Showcaves Centre for Wales at Dan Yr Ogof, which is near Swansea and in the Brecon Beacons, echoed Mr Osborne's concerns.

Mr Price, who is also a campsite owner, has been involved in tourism in Wales for 45 years and said he had never seen a summer like this.

"It's pretty grim, the campsite we have on the complex is down about 60%, the self- catering apartments are down about 25%," he said.

"But I think the real worry is that this is a pretty difficult year, the weather has been the final straw."

Mr Price suggested Wales should become an "all-weather venue".

"This is the sixth really bad summer and I think we all need to get our heads round the table and see what the future holds."

Mr Osborne expected businesses to concentrate on making lost profits at Halloween and Christmas.

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