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PHOTOS: Tourism minister on visit to Cornwall

PHOTOS: Tourism minister on visit to Cornwall

Published by Emma Carton at 5:00pm 26th July 2018.

Pirate FM has challenged the tourism minister on fines for parents who take their children on holiday during term-time.

Michael Ellis toured the newly revamped Tate St Ives during a whistle-stop trip to the Duchy.

He arrived as figures reveal we welcomed 4.5 million visitors last year, including almost 350k from overseas.

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Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism visits Cornwall as figures reveal we welcomed 4.5 million visitors last year

Visit Cornwall is calling on the government to be more lenient with the rules, to encourage tourists out of season.

When Pirate FM put that to Michael Ellis, his response was that we always have to "keep options open".

"We always have to listen to the points raised by our communities around the country and there are always pressures on school timetables.

"However the reality is, of course, that a child's education is of paramount importance.

"One of the ways one could look at this is the practice in other parts of the world and how they deal with these issues.

"From a tourism perspective, the fact that so many people come here during the school holidays makes it an incredibly important part of the local economy. I want to see that continue, first and foremost".

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Pirate FM challenged tourism minister, Michael Ellis, on term-time holiday fines as he toured the newly revamped Tate St Ives

Head of Visit Cornwall, Malcolm Bell, has told Pirate FM he feels that teachers should be able to decide.

"It's certainly made May and June a lot flatter than they used to be. People didn't take children out who were 13 or 14, they were taking 6 and 7-year-olds out.

"I still say - and I will argue with the minister - to say ease off a bit and let the headteachers decide on the family.

"A family holiday is very important in terms of reconnecting with people and down in Cornwall, lots of people can't take holidays during the school holidays because they have to work - same with the services.

"Maybe if you're in secondary school it's a good rule but primary school, I'm not so sure; let's have a bit of a pragmatic approach".

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Responding to questions about term-time holiday fines, tourism minister Michael Ellis said he believes we always need to "keep options open" but that a child's education is of "paramount importance"

Michael Ellis is carrying out a three-day visit to the south-west between Wednesday and Friday.

As well as the Tate, he is meeting with staff and visitors at Newquay Airport, where it has just been announced that it will become the first choice for Virgin Orbit for horizontal space flights in the near future.

Tintagel Castle, Cornwall's Regimental Museum, Jubilee Pool in Penzance, the Eden Project, and The Box in Plymouth were also on the cards.

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