Cornwall’s beautiful coastline, rugged cliffs, and picture-postcard villages attract millions of visitors from all over the world each year. But this summer, it was the Brits themselves lounging on Cornwall’s famous beaches.
Four out of five Englishmen took a test this summer staycation – Vacation in your own country – instead of popular holiday destinations like Spain and France. Due to the delta variant of the coronavirus, travel restrictions and expensive PCR tests, an overseas holiday has fallen into the water for many Britons this year.
But the large numbers of vacationers in their countries bring with them the necessary problems. In popular areas such as Cornwall and Devon, the increasing demand for vacation homes and second homes has led to an already escalating housing crisis. In some places, 80 percent of homes are now purchased as vacation homes or rental sites.
“There is now so much demand for holiday homes that locals are somewhat forced out of their homes,” says Monique Collins of Newquay in Cornwall. She has a foundation that helps low-income people find a home. She now receives about four calls a day from people placed on the street. “They were evicted because the owner wanted to list the property on Airbnb or sell it at crazy prices,” she explains. “People who come from here are now living in tents or mobile homes, and they have nowhere to go.”
“There is no longer a home to be found”
It happened to Scott Midgley, who works at the four-star Hotel The Headland on the Newquay coast. The homeowner gave him a month to leave. “Fortunately, the hotel where I work offered me a temporary room, otherwise I would have ended up on the street,” he says. “For people on catering salaries, like me, there is no longer a home. And if you can find a home, with these high rents, the choice is between paying the rent or being able to shop.”
And according to South Hams Council in Devon, the situation is getting serious. “We still call it a housing crisis, but if it continues it will be an emergency,” said City Council member Judy Pierce. “There are no more homes for the people here who work in the hospital or in education or the local rescue team, for example. While these people are essential to our community.”
Pierce believes there should be more regulation at the national level to reduce the growing number of vacation homes and second homes. “Homes were already very expensive here, but the pandemic has raised prices to such an extent that they are unaffordable.”
Sheep chased the shelf
Domestic tourism causes problems not only in the housing market, local farmers are also affected by the large numbers of visitors. “People walk into your fields and leave the gates open and my cattle run away. They have no respect for the countryside,” says sheep farmer Richard Rossiter of Salcombe, Devon.
So he is not entirely happy with the influx of tourists from his country:
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