Every ash cloud has a silver lining – as several businesses in Cornwall are finding out this week.
While the airline industry is estimating massive losses, St Austell Brewery’s hotels and pubs have been booming in the wake of last week’s crisis.
Barbara May, general manager at the Great Western Hotel in Newquay, said late bookings had rocketed by 40%.
“Our phone has been ringing off the hook,” she said. “People have saved up the money and taken time off work, only for their flights to be cancelled - so they’ve come to us instead.
“Over the past week we’ve had guests that were meant to be in Lanzarote and Cyprus staying with us. We’re so pleased we’ve been able to help. It’s been a fantastic week for us.”
The Old Custom House Hotel in Padstow has been full this week, with almost 50% of people booking at last minute.
Amy McBurnie, from the hotel, said: “We’ve had a massive increase in bookings. Guests this week were supposed to be holidaying in Florida, Jamaica, Barbados and Madeira but have ended up with us instead.
“The weather’s been brilliant, and they’ve all really enjoyed Padstow. We wouldn’t normally expect to be this full straight after Easter – but these aren’t normal circumstances.”
The Rashleigh Arms in Charlestown has also been full – and is booked up again next week.
Manager Rob Brewer said: “We’re usually around 70% full at this time of year, so business has really picked up.”
James Staughton, managing director of St Austell Brewery, said: “We are sympathetic to people who’ve been caught up in the nightmare, but we’re delighted they’ve been able to sample what Cornwall has to offer. We hope they come back and visit us in the future.”
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