At the end of August each year the Cornish tourism industry experiences its own version of the Great Migration as the families return home to face the first day of the school year and the oldies and youngies pour in to take their place. The mad mid-summer rush is not unique to us and, being an out of the closet Europhile, I decided to see how it works on the other side of the Channel.
Here in the UK the August influx is a result of the fact that everyone with school age children has to take the main summer holiday in a narrow five to six week period. The French, Spanish and Germans do not have the same constraint. The Spanish summer holidays last from late June to early September. The French and Germans, on the other hand, have a similar length of summer school break to us but they stagger them by region from late June to early September.
Here at Classic we have noticed that the Germans and many of their neighbouring countries really do take advantage of this and a lot of them visit us in late June and July before the August rush. We are very thankful for that because the German speaking countries account for the vast majority of our foreign visitors.
The French and Spanish are more ‘home birds’ preferring to holiday in their own countries. Neither have to cram their holiday taking as we do but strangely they do seem very set on holidaying in the first three weeks of August and they manage to create even more traffic carnage on a weekend than here at home. It seems to be a legacy of the days when all the factories stopped their plant and machinery, shut the gates and went on holiday for the same few weeks. That is less common now because less of the population work in factories, but the close-down ethic seems to be embedded – don’t try to go on a shopping spree in Spain in August, they are all at the beach.
So, what would happen if we spaced our main holidays over a ten week period in this country. I suspect that we are more like the northern Europeans and would take advantage of the extra freedom leading to less congestion, less weight on our services and probably happier guests and locals. Worth a try?
‘In the UK the August influx is a result of the fact that everyone with school age children has to take the main summer holiday in a narrow five to six week period.’
ABOVE:Would longer holidays in the UK mean more empty beaches in Cornwall?