Idyllic seaside paradise that’s torn apart by tourists

It is the age-old problem for tourist hotspot towns. The summer season brings with it an influx and wave after wave of visitors as they flood into the idyllic seaside paradises that our region has aplenty.

But as summer nears its end and tourists begin to head home for the year, much of the South-West can expect a return to a quieter way of life. While some welcome having their towns back, businesses face the struggle to make ends meet for months on end.

Looe is one such example. The beauty of the town is both what makes it a great place to live, and what puts a strain on the local economy. There is an over-reliance on tourism, second-home ownership is only becoming more prevalent as time goes on, and the identity of the historic fishing port is under threat.

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Nearly at the border with Devon, the town is full of coastal charm and scenic beauty, attracting tourists from far and wide. Divided into East and West Looe by its river, each half of the town offers different, but equally charming atmospheres. Quintessential Cornish staples like pasty and bucket-and-spade shops line East Looe’s high street to its beach, the main attraction for visitors.

“Owning a business in Looe means that you have to make your money in the summer to carry you through the autumn and winter,” said Nigel Flanakin the owner of Ocean and Earth Thai Restaurant in East Looe. “We work seven days a week in the summer, and in winter we lose money.”

While Nigel says he isn’t worried about his business, for others this has been particularly challenging this year, as the wet weather and cost of living crisis have reduced the number of people visiting the town. This has affected both business owners and their employees, as reduced footfall means fewer staff are required.

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