Double blow to UK's tourist industry

The British Tourist Authority has predicted that the combined effect of the foot-and-mouth epidemic and the terrorist attacks in the US will cost the UK tourism industry £2.5 billion in lost business this year. Stratford-upon-Avon is one of the tourist destinations that has been hit hard by overseas tourists staying away from the UK. Although the county was free of foot-and-mouth, some tourist attractions such as Shakespeare's birthplace were closed as a precautionary measure. Many accommodation bookings have been cancelled, particularly after the Ryder Cup Golf Tournament, due to be held elsewhere in Warwickshire, was postponed until next year. According to Warwickshire's tourist authority, four out of five visitors to Stratford come from the UK, but overseas visitors spend much more money there. The largest number of overseas visitors to Stratford come from the USA and spend an average of £25 million per year. Most importantly, Americans are prepared to come at off-peak times as well as a high season.

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