We may not have had overseas tourists this year – but more UK visitors have visited Shropshire since the pandemic struck.
Unable to travel abroad people in Britain have searched for holidays and adventures closer to home.
Many have arrived in Shropshire for the first time and will call into the county’s Tourist Information Centres for advice on how to make the most of their visit.
The Tourist Information Centre is Oswestry is run by Oswestry and Borderland Tourism.
Lastest figures for visits to the information centres go back to May, when 300 people called in during the month. And that was before the school summer holidays.
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There was also a huge increase on numbers going online to research – 100 per cent up on May 2019 and 25 per cent up on April of this year.
Karen Pringle, from the Oswestry TIC, said: “This year had been great for accommodation providers, from hotels and B&Bs to self catering units and campsites. They all say there have been really busy.
“People have told us they like Shropshire because it is rural and relatively unpopulated – they feel safe.”
Karen said that a majority of people were visiting the Oswestry and borders area for the great outdoors.
“Lots of people come here to walk and enjoy the countryside. And we have had so many this year asking where they can paddleboard,” she said.
“Of course we point people not only to the local area but to all of Shropshire because we have so much in the county to see, from the Ironbridge Gorge to the beautiful county town of Shrewsbury, from the South Shropshire hills to our canals. It really is a very special place. And of course we have Wales on our doorstep.”
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She said September and October were expected to be just as busy for tourism.
“Once the summer holidays have ended we always have an influx of people who haven’t got children and of course retired people. They go on holiday once the children have gone back to school.”
She said she hoped that those who had visited Shropshire for the first time this year would return and make it a regular holiday destination.
“Many have said they will come back. They love the scenery and also they say they love the friendly people.
“When we live here we take it for granted.”
To make visitors to the county feel safe, more than 300 tourism and hospitality businesses in Shropshire have been awarded the official ‘We’re Good to Go’ quality standard, demonstrating they have followed all the Government’s Covid-19 guidelines to make them as safe as possible for visitors.
By Sue Austin
Source: Shropshire Star