VisitCornwall head of tourism Malcolm Bell says weather forecasters are too absorbed with rain and like highlighting the current gloomy weather. He is having a hard time giving the current inclement conditions a positive spin and is unhappy at forecasters, who he says add to the gloom. This comes as the UK continues to get heavy downpours and dark skies.
Cornwall is actually one of the most popular holiday destinations in the country, and it seems weather forecasters are being blamed for scaring tourists off. Bell says that he feels down when forecasters, too often, seem to delight and become excited when there is poor weather. It’s like they skip over the fair weather periods. Instead of helping the public have at least some comfort and pleasure in their free time and holidays during these difficult and austere times, weather presenters appear to be more into making them depressed.
Forecasters have had the chance to give their viewers depressing news more often lately than usual due to an unprecedented amount of rainfall. There was more rain in in June than ever, with floods caused by torrential rain in many areas across the UK. Between April and June was also the wettest in history for the period since records started in 1910. The South West was hit with more torrential rain earlier this week. Parts of Cornwall have gotten over 100mm of rain this month so far. The average expectation for the whole month is just under 70mm.
Bell believes that cheeky comments could cost millions in lost revenue for the tourism industry and says his colleagues from other resorts agree. Weather presenters brush over forecast details and leave viewers uncertain about if they will face a downpour or a ten-minute shower. The Cornwall tourism industry could lose up to £60 million this summer, following the wettest record for the second quarter. The rain in June alone brought about a 20% decline in customers for some companies.
The problem, he continued, is forecasters who “try to be stand-up” comedians. They make remarks such as – “we’ll have our wellies on until October”. They also confuse ten-minute showers with a rainy day, which puts people off. He’s also urging the tourism industry to use social media and the internet to show the actual weather in Cornwall to ensure visitors return.
Bell has also lobbied the Met Office on the matter, and says they are very professional and provide accurate forecasts in the short-term. With the cheeky remarks being the problem, he asks the industry to contact television programme directors every time one of these comments is made to remind them that they are supposed to be giving professional and accurate reports, rather than trying to be stand-up comics at their expense.
The Met Office explains that weather presenters are permanently based at media groups – like the BBC – and tend to follow house styles that the broadcasters set up. It doesn’t think anyone would disagree when they say that the weather in June and early this month has been rather disappointing. It added that it worked with the tourism industry to offer localised forecasts for attractions and resorts.
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