Surge in bookings reprieves Cornwall

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The Independent Online
CORNWALL'S PLANS to cash in on next month's eclipse appear to be back on track after a decidedly shaky start.

With the first full solar eclipse in Britain in 70 years taking place in the middle of the summer holiday season, tourist authorities warned of traffic chaos and a stampede for accommodation. The rush failed to materialise.

But tourism officials said yesterday that there had been a late upsurge in demand for accommodation. The operator of a 75 acre camp site serving 5,000 in Penzance said that bookings had gone "completely mad" over the last fortnight. And the organiser of a five day eclipse festival on the Lizard peninsula said bookings had been good at his site which serves 20,000.

The Cornwall Tourist Board estimates that over one million people will visit the county over a three week period in August, focussed around the morning of the eclipse on 11 August. The influx is expected to bring in a much needed pounds 500m to an area which, despite its beauty, is one of the poorest in Britain.

Mark Stocker, the director of an accommodation booking service, said that there had been quite a large increase in demand.

He said that reports of traffic jams and high costs of accommodation had initially threatened to deter people.