Hotels charge earth to see eclipse

ASTRONOMY enthusiasts will be able to watch the solar eclipse in Cornwall next year - but only at an astronomical price. Hotels are to charge up to pounds 3,000 for their rooms during the first total eclipse to be seen in Britain for 72 years.

More than 1.5 million visitors are expected to travel to Cornwall for the eagerly anticipated event on 11 August. But officials fear the greed of hoteliers will drive away visitors in the long term, threatening the county's annual pounds 800m in tourist revenue.

The Barrowfield hotel in Newquay, which stipulates a minimum stay of seven nights, is charging a family of two adults and two children pounds 3,021.20 for bed, breakfast and dinner during eclipse week. That is a 261 per cent rise on a similar stay for August this year which cost pounds 1,155.36.

The Atlantic hotel nearby, which also requires a seven-day minimum stay, is charging a family of four pounds 2,656 - an increase of 270 per cent on a similar deal last August, when the cost was pounds 983. The neighbouring Headland Hotel's five-night minimum stay costs pounds 1,495 for two adults and two children. Cost the following week would be pounds 995.

The Carlyon Bay Hotel in St Austell is charging an pounds 80 supplement per person for 10 and 11 August. Last August's rate was pounds 88 per person for bed, breakfast and dinner. Peter Brennan, the hotel's manager, said: "We're not out to make a killing, but we are in a business and it's a bit of a supply and demand situation."

The total solar eclipse will be visible through a large part of Cornwall, the central line passing through St Just, near Land's End, to Falmouth.

With just 33,000 beds in registered hotels and guesthouses, accommodation is a major headache for local authorities, but hoteliers have been criticised for taking advantage of a seller's market. The Association of Holiday Homes Agencies has reluctantly agreed to increase rates by between 25 and 33 per cent under pressure from its members. Jack Johnston, marketing and promotions officer for Restormel Borough Council, said: "We are very concerned about the pricing structure that has been talked about. Very high rises are not on, and I would condemn anybody doing it. You will always get people trying to cash in but we have to be seen to be treating customers properly."

The council is worried that overcharging, combined with a strong pound encouraging foreign holidays and a predicted recession, could leave Cornwall facing years of dwindling tourism.

"It's not 1999 we are concerned about but 2000 and the years after that," added Mr Johnston. "We must not be seen to be ripping off the holidaymaker. Cornwall has a strong loyalty factor with holidays and we have to reward that."

Sue Jesson, managing director of the Barrowfield, said her hotel faced additional costs, with suppliers charging premium prices and that it also intended to stage "spectacular" events during the week. She said the deal represented good value. "If you stay in a hotel in London you'll pay pounds 200 a night and that's without food. We are expecting a lot of demand for accommodation and we will have to put up our own staff who won't get home because of the congestion."

The manager of the Headland, John Armstrong, said the extra cost was justified by additional services the hotel planned. "We have a lecture by a scientist the night before the eclipse and a party the night after. With all the warnings about Cornwall becoming jammed people may not be able to get out into the county, so we are providing them with full board."

Newquay's Association of Tourism and Commerce defended the right of hoteliers to charge what they felt was appropriate. It has recommended that hotels charge up to 15 per cent more for the eclipse. "Some people are looking for accommodation and will pay any sort of price for it," said Bob Morgan, the association's chief administrator. "We can't dictate to our members what they should charge. It won't be counter productive if there are only a few people overcharging."

But the eclipse co-ordinator, Gage Williams, assigned to oversee the logistics surrounding the event, warned that any dramatic rise in prices could backfire. "It would be a pretty unpopular minority doing it," he said. "We had a hot summer in 1986 and hotels jacked up their prices to make the most of a bumper season, but the backlash from tourists lasted three years."

The price hikes have been condemned by other hoteliers. "It's just greed," said Ron Hatfield, who runs the Carnmarth Hotel in Newquay. "It gives Cornwall a label and Cornwall isn't like that. The difficulties hoteliers face warrants a small increase, but nothing like these charges."

Suggested Topics
Sport
Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
Sport
world cup 2014
Sport
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Life and Style
fashionJ Crew introduces triple zero size to meet the Asia market demand
Sport
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
News
business
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Analyst Consultant (Financial Services)

£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

Systems Administrator - Linux / Unix / Windows / TCP/IP / SAN

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider in investment managemen...

AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer

£600 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer JVS, ...

E-Commerce Developer

£45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Exciting opp...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice