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Tourism and Foot and Mouth Disease

  • Date Submitted: 11/19/2010 04:03 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 67 
  • Words: 703
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This weekend will see the traditional start to the tourism season in Britain - when hundreds of castles, historic houses, wildlife centres and other attractions open their doors to visitors after the winter break.

There's no doubt however, that this year the tourist season has been overshadowed by the Foot and Mouth outbreak.

This disease has been a devastating blow for livestock farmers. Hundreds of them have seen their animals, livelihood and hopes for the future destroyed and many others fear they will suffer the same fate.

It is a human tragedy and they deserve our sympathy and help. That is why no resource, no effort and no time is being spared to bring this outbreak under control.

It's also why we promise to support farmers both now, through this immediate crisis, and for the longer term to build a sustainable future for the countryside.

But foot and mouth has also hurt the tourist industry, indeed the whole rural economy - and, in the vast majority of cases, totally unnecessarily.

Bookings have been cancelled. Visitor numbers have fallen. This is true even in parts of the UK - and there are many of them, in fact the majority of them - which have not seen a single case of the disease.

The Government is putting in place measures to help the tourism and the countryside, through these difficult times - such as tax breaks or rates holidays, for village shops and pubs and other country businesses. And we're urgently looking at what other help is needed.

But everyone I've met who works in the tourist industry over the last few days has made the point that, while Government assistance is helpful, what they actually need most is for the visitors themselves to return.

So again we are doing everything we can to get over the message - at home and abroad - that the whole of the UK is open for business, as indeed it is.

I know a lot of people from overseas visit this website regularly. And many of you may plan to visit the UK itself this...


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