With no income and little idea when holidaymakers will return, many small accommodation businesses face ruin

When Campwell opened for the first time on 14 February, the outlook was bright – despite the horrendous weather. The woodland eco-site near Bath may have been lashed by storm Dennis but it was full that first weekend and forward bookings were “fantastic”’ according to owner Tim Bowles: “It was really positive – we were already beyond our targets in terms of bookings and thinking we might even make a profit.”

Just over a month later, the UK went into lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic and, like every other tourism business in the country, Bowles shut up shop. The outlook for his inaugural season went from bright to bleak. “It hasn’t been an ideal start,” Bowles said, although he admits he’s more fortunate than some. His landlord is a friend who is flexible about rent and two supervisors he employs have other work they can fall back on. But even without the pressure of meeting those costs, Bowles says it’s impossible for him to refund all his customers without putting the fledging business at risk. “Most customers have been very accommodating and agreed to reschedule. We have refunded some people, but if we refunded everyone we would be on our knees.”

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Source: Gaurdian

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