THE Cornish economy has lost at least £8 million because of the Icelandic volcanic eruption, Devon and Cornwall Business Council has estimated.
Chairman Tim Jones said the figure is probably an underestimate, as he receives more calls from panicking business owners across the county every day.
He said: “The longer this goes on the more anguished calls I get from businesses, the more I am convinced that the impact on the economy is much greater than these estimates.
“If this continues then some events which are on hold could well be cancelled, such is the uncertainty.”
But Mr Jones said there could be some benefits to tourism businesses as more people visit the county as their holidays abroad are cancelled.
“There is evidence to suggest some hotels have noticed an increase in bookings and Brittany Ferries have also noted an increase,” he said.
“But I am afraid that the upsides to this are far outweighed by the downsides.”
VisitCornwall, the county’s official tourism body, said Cornwall has been less affected than other regions.
“Currently less than 10% of visitors to Cornwall arrive by air so the impact on tourism at this stage is probably less compared with other industries,” a spokesman for the organisation said.
“However, air links are a very effective way of attracting first time visitors to Cornwall and so we are concerned about losing this very important key market.
“We would hope that these passengers will be able to rebook in the future but inevitably some will be unable to do so.”
Managing director of user-courier matchmaking website www.Boxby.co.uk Sandra Patterson, is advising businesses about deliveries following an influx of questions.
She said: “Businesses should get their items on vans and lorries that are already booked on the ferries. We recommend that you use ww.uShip.com
“Avoid air services for the next few days. At present, the authorities’ concern is with getting the people stranded home, and although your parcels and deliveries may be of the upmost importance to you, the authorities’ concern is rightly with stranded people.
“Don’t book an international air parcel delivery service for collection now, simply delay collection and booking until you know that the flights are flying again or if it is urgent, look at a website like uShip for a land or sea-based alternative.
“Don’t get hung up on perceived deadlines and be realistic and honest about the importance of your parcel in the grand scheme of things this week.”
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