Cornwall’s tourism chief has called for moves to cut the number of people visiting the Duchy in the summer and increase winter tourism.

Malcolm Bell, chief executive of Visit Cornwall, has also said that Cornwall could be a pilot area for a new register of accommodation providers.

His comments were made in a presentation about a Sustainable Tourism Strategy which is being drawn up to look at how the tourism industry should operate in Cornwall in future.

The document is aimed at improving the industry while also making it more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

 Visit Cornwall)

Malcolm Bell, chief executive of Visit Cornwall (Image: Visit Cornwall)

Mr Bell spoke about the strategy at a meeting of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) this morning.

He also said that Cornwall should be the base for a national or international Research and Development Centre of Excellence for Sustainable, Competitive and Regenerative Tourism.

The Visit Cornwall boss told the LEP board that there were around 5million people coming to Cornwall on holiday each year and a total of between 24 and 25m bed nights stayed.

And the combined visitor related spend for those on holiday and those on day trips was more than £2billion a year.

But he said there was a need to make Cornwall’s tourism economy more sustainable and one way to do that would be to increase the number of people coming on holiday year round.

Mr Bell said that the large proportion of visitors come to Cornwall during the school summer holidays in July and August and warned there was a danger of “over tourism” in those months.



He said that therefore there should be an aim to keep the number of visits in July and August at the same or a lower level than rates in 2019 but then encourage growth of 20% in the winter and off-peak months.

Mr Bell said that as well as boosting tourism income by around £200m it would also ensure that there would be more full time year-round jobs in the industry and aid career progression in tourism.

He also said that there was a need for more “premium quality” accommodation such as premium campsites and lodges.

The rise of Airbnb and other providers had led to some “lower point of entry” accommodation but Mr Bell stressed that “there are some great providers on Airbnb”.

However he said that he felt that there needed to be some kind of register of accommodation in Cornwall so that they could keep track of “over supply”.

And he said he had a “controversial, and maybe very controversial” idea about a licensing scheme for holiday accommodation.

Mr Bell said there needed to be “a discussion on compulsory licencing” which would ensure that accommodation was good quality whilst also ensuring that tourist hotspots continue to have sufficient homes for people to live there.

The Visit Cornwall chief said that there was also a need to focus on the environment saying: “We are already a leader as an area in green tourism but we need to crank it up a bit more.”

And he said there was a need for the tourism industry to have more engagement with the local community about the impact tourism has on local people and to ensure that it is sustainable and positive.

A mission statement provided in the strategy states: “We will work together to deliver managed wise out of season growth that increases the value of tourism whilst positively enhancing the benefits of tourism across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly in order to improve the quality of life of residents, visitors as well as the quality and diversity of the environment and nature.”