If one town ought to be crowned tourism capital of Cornwall, St Ives is probably it. The west Cornwall seaside town has been a popular tourist destination since the St Ives Bay Line opened in 1877.
St Ives’ popularity as the quintessential Cornish seaside town has never waned since and the number of visitors has kept going up. So much so that visiting St Ives in the summer can be a hellish experience.
The small streets are rammed, finding a parking space is an art form in its own right and battling through crowds of tourists doesn’t make visiting the harbour town the most enjoyable experience.
Yet it is easy to see why it’s is so popular with holidaymakers, as well as visitors from across Cornwall. Fishermens’ cottages recognisable for their moss-covered roofs crowd around a quaint little harbour where brightly painted boats rest on the sand at low tide.
The light so prized by artists the world over is beautiful, and turquoise waters shimmer gloriously and invitingly, while sandy beaches, museums and galleries, famous arts schools and a varied and well-established foodie scene all contribute to make it the tourists’ magnet it is today.
And that’s where the problem lies. St Ives relies on tourism to such an extent that it’s become an addiction. The town has the second highest visitor-related spend in the UK, with tourists spending £85million per year.
Around 540,000 day trippers and more than 220,000 staying tourists visit St Ives every year, with the tourism industry accounting for around 2,800 jobs in the area – that’s almost one in four people who live there.
In turns this has created its own set of problems. Over the past two years it has all come to a head and locals, priced out of their own town so the little housing stock there is left can make way for holiday lets and second homes, have had enough.
The tourism industry accounts for around 2,800 jobs in St Ives, which is almost one in four people who live there
Around 540,000 day trippers and more than 220,000 staying tourists visit St Ives in Cornwall every year
Holidaymakers walk the narrow streets of St Ives, which has been a popular tourist destination since Victorian times
Camilla Dixon (left), the co-founder of the First Not Second Homes campaign group, said second homes are ‘not good for the economy’; while Jo Howard (right) said people are ‘telling us they’re being evicted from their homes to make way for Airbnbs'</…….