Yorkshire B&B owner demands action as tourism plummets amid coronavirus pandemic

Hard-working, mother-of-two Nina Wilson has called for action after the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK continues to rise affecting business in the Yorkshire Dales.

March is usually a busy and prosperous month for Mrs Wilson, at her highly rated bed and breakfast in Hawes, but this weekend many rooms are vacant and the picturesque small market town, one of the honeypot tourist attractions of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, feels eerily quiet.

The former emergency liaison officer who grew up in Wakefield, moved to Hawes two years ago and established the Dales House Bed and Breakfast in her first tourism venture.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Sign up to our Business newsletter

After a prosperous opening season, Mrs Wilson told The Yorkshire Post it was a worrying time with average trade down by 81 percent in comparison with the same time last year.

Nina Wilson, 71, stands outside her business, the Dales House Bed and Breakfast in Hawes. Photo credit: Tony Johnson

"This is my livelihood. I am worried I won't catch-up," she said.

"This time last year I had bookings coming in every day. But now it's about two a week.

The 71-year-old said her Market Place based business wouldn't be able to survive if trade didn't improve and said help would need to be provided if the low trade continued with many other local businesses in a similar damaging position.

"I can survive at the moment because of good financial management but I couldn't survive two season like this," she said.

March is usually a busy and prosperous month for Mrs Wilson,with fully booked rooms at her highly rated bed and breakfast in Hawes, but this weekend many rooms are vacant Photo: Tony Johnson

"We rely on the tourist trade here in Hawes and we are all in the same boat.

"Their will be people hurting and I know bookings are down for other people. We are all down," she said.

"If it continues like this for a sustained period there would definitely need to be relief money or something".

The mother-of-two said that the cornavirus outbreak was just the "tip of the iceberg," after a turbulent winter season affected by flooding and severe weather.

"Coronavirus certainly hasn't helped our bookings," she said. "But it's a combination of the floods, the rain, the weather, and all of that as well."

Mrs Wilson said she had increased precautionary efforts as the number of confirmed coronavirus deaths and cases in the UK rises with measures including increased sanitising.

"My guests are paramount," she said "I have taken all the extra cleaning precautions. I have significantly increased cleaning and am steralising everything.

"I have a damp cloth permanently in my hand - with detol."

Mrs Wilson, originally from Somerset, added more visitors must visit Hawes and the Yorkshire Dales over the next coming weeks, or many local businesses may be forced to close.

"Please come and visit... please don't stop coming," she said.

"Up here we have wonderful hospitality and wonderful places to stay. We are most certainly open for business and we are doing all the right things to welcome you into the Yorkshire Dales.

"You need a break, we need a break. we all need to be helping each other - there is no need to stop coming."