Drought and downpours blamed for fall in visitors
A major tourism attraction has had one of its worst summers on record.
Drought, torrential rain, the Olympics, the Diamond Jubilee and the recession are all being blamed for a slump in visitors to Foxton Locks, near Market Harborough.
Despite last weekend's two-day festival, which attracted thousands of visitors, the volume of boats to have travelled through the locks is 60 per cent down on last year, and the number of visitors to the museum has been halved.
Team leader at Foxton, Mark Whitfield, who monitors the number of boats, said: "Last year, the number of boats was down on the previous year. But our records show almost 1,200 fewer boats have gone through Foxton compared with last year.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Wednesday, May 22 2013
"Conditions have not helped with the drought and the restrictions on the canal. I also believe the torrential rain that followed has persuaded people not to holiday on the canal network and go abroad.
"There are also the effects of the recession to take into consideration."
Stringent closures and opening restrictions were introduced in April after the driest spell for 90 years.
It meant an 11-mile stretch of the canal between Aylestone, Leicester and Kibworth was closed until torrential rain replenished the Saddington Reservoir, which serves the canal in May.
The opening of the locks at Foxton was also restricted during the drought, to between 10am and 4pm.
Torrential rain later forced the cancellation of the annual Foxton Festival in July.
Keeper of the award-winning Foxton Locks museum, Mike Beech, said: "This is the worst summer I can remember. Publicity about the restrictions on the canal convinced people that Foxton Locks was closed, too. Other businesses here are also reporting a drop in customers."
Mr Beech said: "First of all, we had the drought. Then we had downpours. I also think the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics were a distraction."
He said they were pleased with the attendance at last weekend's festival: "On Sunday, there were thousands of visitors and numbers were good on Monday, too. People enjoyed the music and the entertainment on offer."
The event was organised by the Foxton Inclined Plane Trust.