TOURISM businesses in Burnham and Highbridge could benefit from a £2million support fund announced by the Government to help those affected by flooding.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller said the cash pot would help to pay for experts to visit areas hit by flooding to give advice, hosted by VisitEngland, and support tourism businesses like bed and breakfasts, hotels and local attractions.

As reported by the Weekly News, businesses in the area have said pictures of the flooded Somerset Levels on the national news have caused visitors to stay away, in the mistaken belief the whole county is affected.

Businesses in Burnham said trade was well down and have been desperately trying to spread the word that tourist attractions are still open.

Burnham and Highbridge Mayor Martin Cox joined business owners in the #SupportSomerset campaign to spread the word.

He said: “This is a hot topic with the town at the moment. People think they can’t come here on holiday and anything that helps put that right is good news. I welcome this investment from central Government.

“Businesses are very concerned that people will avoid this area this year but they are doing everything they can to get the word out.

“I would urge everyone to tell their family and friends the towns are unaffected by the flooding.”

People across Somerset have been campaigning on Twitter with the hashtags #OpenForBusiness and #SupportSomerset, calling for tourists to visit the area.

Burnham MP Tessa Munt met Minister Ed Vaizey last week to press for this funding. She said: “This is great news for tourism and, with Somerset being one of the most affected areas, I look forward to seeing extra funding coming into our area.

“I would like to see Somerset Tourism Association getting some funding so it can fully promote areas like Burnham with just six weeks before the Easter holidays”

Culture Secretary Maria Miller said: “We want to help all those tourism businesses that have been affected by the horrendous floods get back on their feet as quickly as possible.

“Experts will be put on the ground to help small businesses with practical advice and communications while a bespoke Easter marketing campaign will bring people back to the areas hit.”

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