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Cornish 'national holiday' worth £35m

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 23, 2011

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Creating a Cornish bank holiday on St Piran's Day could bring an extra £35 million into the county, according to tourism leaders.

Figures from Visit Cornwall suggest there is potential for an increase in tourism worth £20-£35 million to the county if the May Day Bank Holiday is moved to St Piran's Day for Cornwall and October for the rest of the country.

They identified this option as "the most economically advantageous" for Cornwall.

The tourist board predicted an extra tourist spend of £20 million for Cornwall if the bank holiday is moved to October for the entire country.

Malcolm Bell, head of tourism at Visit Cornwall, said having a different bank holiday in Cornwall would help the county to stand out.

"It's quite a strong marketing message because people like to go somewhere different but familiar," he said.

The figures are included in a report due to go before the full Cornwall Council on November 29.

It recommends the council writes to the Government, asking that any change to the May Day Bank Holiday should lead to the creation of a public holiday in Cornwall on March 5, the day the patron saint of tin miners is celebrated.

The Government is currently in the process of consulting on proposals to move the May Day Bank Holiday for the whole country to a new date.

Suggestions have included creating a UK Day or Trafalgar Day in October, or moving the May Day Bank Holiday to St George's Day on April 23.

However, campaigners in Cornwall have grasped this opportunity to make a bid for the county to have its own public holiday on St Piran's Day.

Liberal Democrat councillor Ann Kerridge, who put forward the original motion calling for Cornwall to have its own public holiday, said: "The report shows very clearly that a St Piran's Day bank holiday is good for our culture, good for tourism and good for Cornwall.

"The council needs to be demanding that government allows Cornwall to grab all these advantages by allowing us to celebrate St Piran and Cornwall on March 5."

Derek Phillips, chairman of South West Chambers of Commerce, said: "I don't think businesses outside of Cornwall would have strong views but within Cornwall I would imagine there would be support and this would give a boost to many of the businesses within the county."

David Shephard, chairman of the Devon Federation of Small Businesses (DFSB), welcomed proposals to spread UK bank holidays more evenly throughout the year.

But he was dubious about the practicalities of Cornwall having a separate public holiday to the rest of the country.

He said: "These sorts of things can be celebrated without necessarily going to ask the Government for a national holiday.

"If the Cornish want to celebrate St Piran's Day I see no reason why they shouldn't but I think [a separate public holiday] would be difficult practically.

"They're not a country in their own right, they're an essential part of England."

However, Mr Shephard said he wished Cornwall luck if it did pursue the campaign, and suggested a Cornish bank holiday could provide a boost for the rest of the Westcountry too.

"If there are lots of things going on in Cornwall over that period then people are going to come down through Devon and Devon would benefit," he added.

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  • Doitdreckley  |  November 24 2011, 8:09PM

    Big Ger and me are agreeing again! I need a lie down!

  • Big_Ger  |  November 24 2011, 9:17AM

    I think this is a great idea. A holiday would be a chance to show off the best of Cornwall, and would draw down tourists, and their money, at a pretty dead part of the tourism year, (March.) This could be a bonus for accommodation providers. Many people in England, Wales, Scotland, and further afield, are interested in folklore, folk music, and "traditional" events. If marketed properly as a distinct cultural event, with the proper sort of festivities put on, it could be a great income generator. many Cornish producer and manufactures (specially the breweries!) could make up St Piran's food, drink and products for sale, along with the organisation of concerts and dances, and days out and the like. Lets get it on!

  • alansanders  |  November 23 2011, 10:17PM

    The sooner the better.

  • alansanders  |  November 23 2011, 10:11PM

    May be we should get people to avoid the shire next door by having the whole Cornish NATIONAL experiance Fly in via the national air port at newquay with a tax free zone just like shannon in Ireland or through a ferry port with again a tax free zone at Falmouth and a giant event at a NATIONAL STIDUM . [ devon what the hell is that]

  • DuporthBob  |  November 23 2011, 9:57PM

    I don't get it!. For a start I don't suppose anybody east of the Tamar has a clue who St Piran is or what St Pirans day is about. Even if they did they wouldn't be interested!. Secondly, they wouldn't be down here spending money when their bank holiday falls on a different day. Who dreams up these weird ideas?.... they need to get a "proper job"....

  • Doitdreckley  |  November 23 2011, 8:16PM

    Come on Young Cornwall: St.Pirans flag would always outnumber St.George in Cornwall. And Shepherd sounds like another sour grape Devonite that is desperate to be linked to the success of Cornwall and resent its difference.

  • youngcornwall  |  November 23 2011, 5:38PM

    I think the St George flag would out number any other flag on any given day, but that is not the point, it is the making something out of nothing that businesses are interested in.

  • cweatherhill  |  November 23 2011, 4:21PM

    Opps, mea culpa. I do mean Mr Shephard, yes.

  • youngcornwall  |  November 23 2011, 3:41PM

    "The report shows very clearly that a St Piran's Day bank holiday is good for our culture, good for tourism and good for Cornwall." And the Cornish people will all enjoy their holiday by working it, so it will be "good for tourism" I suppose. Well who else is going to do the work?

  • cheekyman_jr  |  November 23 2011, 3:29PM

    Surely you mean Mr Shephard Marhak?