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Rainy summer 'could cost rural economy £150m'
8:00am Saturday 28th July 2012 in Local news
Persistent rains this summer have made visits to Craven and the Yorkshire Dales a damp squib for some tourists.
The Country Land and Business Association has said cancelled events could cost the rural economy more than £150 million.
Regional director Dorothy Fairburn said: “Not only is it heartbreaking when decisions are taken to cancel an event, the direct and indirect economic impacts can be devastating.
“For local economies, the knock-on effects could lead to small family firms going out of business at a time when trading conditions are fragile and the UK economy is in a double-dip recession.”
However, while the wet weather has hit outdoor events, indoor attractions or those with indoor facilities are still doing well.
Dee Marshall, head of communications at Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “Outdoor attractions have been impacted, but some indoor attractions have had their best May and June ever. Places like cafés are doing quite well.”
And she said that many visitors to the open countryside of the Dales did not expect perfect weather on their arrival.
“People coming to the Yorkshire Dales are not the type to sit around a swimming pool lounging in the sun. They often come prepared for the weather and carry on with their plans.”
Mrs Marshall also said Welcome to Yorkshire hoped this week’s good weather would continue.
“If good weather holds through September or October half-term, that will help considerably.”
Attractions like Skipton Castle have given walkers an alternative to waterlogged footpaths.
“Numbers are slightly down, but it’s surprising how many visitors we get on a rainy day,” said administrator Sebastian Fattorini. “We’ve picked up a lot of people who were going out walking. People are very grateful that they’ve got somewhere to go when it’s raining,” he added.
Emma Bradley , a spokesman for Thornton Hall Farm Country Park, Thornton-in-Craven, said the wet weather had had very little impact on numbers.
“Half of the farm park is indoors, so there are plenty of parents who can have a cup of coffee and cake while watching their children in the playbarn,” she said.
She also said the 4x4 safari ride around the park was covered, which gave people another option to view the animals.
And she pointed out the wet weather had made one attraction even more popular.
“Because it’s rainy, people are having more fun doing the quadbike trekking,” she said. “There’s something appealing about coming back drenched in mud!”
Meanwhile, North Yorkshire tourism marketing consultant Susan Briggs has collated a list of things visitors are able to do in the rain. This list can found on dalesdiscoveries.com