Polls show disease's impact on tourism

Economy
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The Independent Online

Fresh evidence emerged yesterday of the impact of the foot-and-mouth outbreak on Britain's multi-million-pound tourist industry.

Fresh evidence emerged yesterday of the impact of the foot-and-mouth outbreak on Britain's multi-million-pound tourist industry.

A survey found the crisis was costing the beer and pubs industry £38m a month with one in 10 pubs either closing or suffering a serious dip in profits. The Brewers and Licensed Retailers Association found that 92 per cent of brewing and pub companies said they were being affected by the epidemic.

A second poll found that almost two-thirds of people who were planning an Easter trip to the countryside had cancelled. The survey was done by NFU Countryside, an affiliate organisation to the National Farmers' Union, which questioned more than 500 users of its website.

Rob Hayward, chief executive of the BLRA, said: "Rural pubs are suffering due to the malaise that has struck the rural economy as a consequence of foot-and-mouth. Concern is particularly acute with the Easter holiday period just round the corner. Rural pubs are open for business and it is important the Government gets that message across."

The Transport and General Workers' Union said the slump in the pub trade would hit bar staff and brewery workers hard. Brian Revell, national organiser, said the trend must be reversed before job losses and lay-offs became endemic.

"We are particularly concerned of the cumulative effect the foot-and-mouth crisis may have, following the impacts we have seen as pub ownership has concentrated further."

A poll by the Ramblers' Association found that nearly two-thirds of people wanted their councils to reopen footpaths where scientific advice suggested such action would not heighten the risk of spreading disease. The Government has urged local authorities to lift restrictions on access to footpaths but several councils have refused to comply.

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