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National Showcaves Centre

Welsh tourism official to sue Met Office over wrong weather forecast

Welsh tourism official to sue Met Office over wrong weather forecast
Ashford Price of National Showcaves Centre / Image via southwalesguardian.co.uk

Apr 18, 2013

A tourism boss is threatening to sue weather forecasters over the "gloomy" reports he claims are wrecking his business and costing the travel industry thousands.

Ashford Price, who runs one of Wales' oldest and most popular attractions, the National Showcaves Centre, in the Brecon Beacons National Park, wants compensation for "inaccurate" Met Office predictions that put off visitors to his attractions.

He said in interview: "The big problem is that we can't afford for the Met Office to get it wrong on key holiday dates for the tourism industry.

"The forecasters said it would snow for five days over Easter, so we had hundreds of cancellations. Sure, it was cold, but there was no snow."

As a result of the drop in visitors, the centre lost thousands of pounds during what should have been a key period for the attraction.

Mr Price said: "Tourism is the one industry in Wales which gives jobs to young people - and we had to send them away because so many people were cancelling their plans.

"I appreciate that predicting the weather is not an exact science, but I am pleading with the Met Office to warn people they may not always be right.

"It seems that the gloomier the forecast, the more television weather presenters enthuse, but meanwhile campsites are staying empty, trekking ponies need feeding and we're losing out on thousands of pounds."

The businessman is not just worried for his own attraction, he worries for the effect on Wales as a whole.

"Tourism in Wales employs around 100,000 people, and is worth almost £9 million per day," he explains.

When asked whether he will go through with the action against the Met Office, Mr Price said: "We have spoken to our legal teams and are waiting to find out the next steps."

But legal experts said that taking action for damages against forecasters would not be an easy process.

A spokesperson for lawyers Irwin Mitchell told the Daily Mirror: "There would need to be a contract between the forecaster and the individual with duty of care for a breach to be recognised."

A Met Office representative said that research showed their forecasts are correct six days out of every seven.

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