PEOPLE are being put off visiting Somerset and as a result many attractions suffered a poor half term, according to tourism bosses.

John Turner, chief executive of Visit Somerset, is calling for help to combat the perception that flooding is affecting the whole county, which is hurting businesses.

He said many places reported poorer than expected figures for February half term to the Somerset Tourism Association.

Mr Turner added: “Less than 3% of the county is suffering from flooding, while it's business as usual in the remaining 97% with a warm welcome waiting for all.

“However the message this half term has not been favourable with many tourism businesses reporting up to 20% declines on last year's turnover figures, which is a serious setback for an industry that is worth £850 million and around 30,000 jobs to the Somerset economy.

“Our work must start now to ensure that the tourism economy gets back on its feet for the Easter break eight weeks away.”

Mr Turner said he is looking for Government support to help get the message right for the next holiday period, which he describes as “crucial.”

He added: “The community is rallying to help those affected by the floods and it's vital that continues, however, we also need to get the message out that the nation's favourite holiday destinations are unaffected, and an easy and inexpensive break in Somerset is the perfect cure for wet-weather blues.”