Welsh anger as coachload of Bolton tourists arrive in seaside town despite local lockdown

Welsh anger as coachload of Bolton tourists arrive in seaside town despite local lockdown

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RESIDENTS in a popular tourist destination in Wales have reacted with anger after reports that a coachload of Bolton holidaymakers visited their town.

According to a report on BBC Wales Today, the coach arrived in Porthcawl in South Wales on Monday only to be turned away from their hotel following the news that Bridgend County Borough Council is to go into local lockdown following a rise in coronavirus cases.

It is alleged the tourists then travelled to the seaside town of Tenby in Pembrokeshire to continue their holiday.

It is thought the visitors had arrived in Porthcawl for the town's annual Porthcawl Elvis Presley Festival which has recently been cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic.

The annual festival, which was due to take place between September 25-27 typically sees tens of thousands of Elvis lookalikes descend on the seaside town in a three-day celebration of music.

Reporting from Porthcawl on Monday evening, BBC journalist Rhys Williams, said: "Not so long ago a coach full of tourists turned up at one of the hotels along the seafront and I spoke to a couple of the travellers on there who had actually come all the way from Bolton and instead of staying the four nights they were going to they had been told it was rearranged and tomorrow they were going to Tenby instead due to the restrictions that were due to come in to place.

"I did check the restrictions in Bolton and even though there are restrictions in place there, residents from Bolton are allowed to go on holiday outside the area with people from their own household."

The report had provoked anger on social media with many Welsh residents querying why visitors allowed to travel from a town with such high levels of coronavirus infection.

GillGT tweeted: "BBC Wales Today mentioned a coachload of tourists turning up for holiday in Porthcawl, who are being moved on to Tenby today. Bolton has the highest number of cases in the UK. Pembrokeshire one of the lowest. That's madness."

KAZZA449 wrote: "We just had a bus load from Bolton whose Covid incidence is through the roof, arrived in Porthcawl, South Wales for the Elvis festival, how irresponsible is that?"

Many Welsh residents say they are concerned over lockdown tourism as visitors from areas of England with high Covid-19 levels are allowed to holiday in the Principality.

Speaking to the BBC, Arfon MS Sian Gwenllian said tensions could rise in communities over a fear of visitors spreading the virus.

"It makes no sense to me that people in places like Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham under local restrictions can travel as they wish on their holiday to parts of north Wales and risk spreading the virus," she said.

"People are getting very worried about this once again. I fear we could see tensions rise in communities as we saw at the start of the lockdown."

She added parts of Gwynedd had been very busy in the warm weather, with "many people visiting from places where there has been a sharp increase in cases of Covid-19".

"The Welsh Government needs to make it clear to the UK Government that this is not acceptable," she said.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: "Wales has always given a warm welcome to visitors but it's important people do not travel at this time if they have coronavirus, live with someone who is ill or think they may have symptoms. We want to do everything we can to keep Wales safe and prevent the spread of the virus.

"In Wales, the approach we have taken when introducing local restrictions has been different to the one in England. As well as trying to control the spread of the virus within those areas, we have sought to stop the spread of the virus out of those areas.

"As a result, people living in parts of Wales where local restrictions are in place need a "reasonable excuse" to enter or leave their local authority area.

The guidance in England states that "you can travel outside your area" but "must not meet people you do not live with in their home or garden, whether inside or outside of the affected areas, unless they're in your support bubble".

"You can still go on holiday outside of the affected areas, but you should only do this with people you live with (or have formed a support bubble with)."

People on local lockdown in south Wales need a "reasonable excuse" to leave their local authority area.

However, those under similar restrictions in parts of England can still go on holiday.