Prime Minister urges people to visit North Devon beyond holiday season

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during his visit to Appledore Shipyard. Picture: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during his visit to Appledore Shipyard. Picture: Ben Birchall/PA Wire - Credit: PA

The school holidays may be coming to an end, but the Prime Minister is urging people to visit North Devon beyond the holiday season.

After his visit to Appledore Shipyard, Mr Johnson went to Instow, where he met North Devon MP Selaine Saxby at The Commodore Hotel to discuss tourism.

Speaking to local reporters at Appledore on Tuesday, Mr Johnson said the Government would be looking at what it can do to keep people coming to the area beyond the holiday season, after those in the tourism sector lost half of the traditional season to the coronavirus lockdown.

However, he ruled out any sort of extension to the furlough scheme beyond October, instead urging people to make use of the many businesses which are ‘Covid secure’.

Mr Johnson said: “This is a fantastic place to come on holiday in North Devon. We do want people to think of it as a place to come to not just in June, July and August but throughout the year because it’s a fantastic holiday destination.

“Businesses, hotels, restaurants here, everybody in the hospitality sector has done a huge amount to make themselves Covid secure and it is safe.

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“Local people sometimes get worried that lots of people coming in are going to cause an upsurge in the illness and what we’re seeing is, touch wood, that has not so far happened here.

“My message would be be confident come to Devon, come to the Westcountry, come to the South West and enjoy yourself throughout the holiday season and beyond.”

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Mr Johnson said while ‘everyone’ wants to extend the furlough scheme, its problem was that it keeps people ‘in suspended animation’ and out of work.

He added: “We want to support businesses in lots of other ways but the furlough scheme takes someone off the labour market, putting them at home.

“Their social capital, their skills are not getting any better, to put it that way.”

The Prime Minister was recently pictured on holiday in Scotland, and was asked if he had considered a holiday in North Devon himself.

He said: “Wild horses wouldn’t keep me away from North Devon under most circumstances.

“It’s an absolute joy to get down here and I have had many many holidays in this area in the past and I thoroughly, thoroughly recommend it.”

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