Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 13 July 2014

Tourist boss may sue forecasters

Ashford Price claims weather men and woman increasingly deliver bad news forecasts which rarely reflect reality

A tourist boss is threatening to sue weather forecasters for pessimistic predictions he claims are ruining his business.

Ashford Price claims weather men and woman increasingly deliver bad news forecasts which rarely reflect reality.

A habit of providing downbeat weather predictions which do not come true cost Britain's tourism trade millions of pounds a year, he claims.

The outspoken south Wales tourist boss is chairman of the Dan yr Ogof showcaves complex and dinosaur park in the Swansea Valley. The sprawling complex within the Brecon Beacons National Park takes in a shire horse centre, iron age village, campsite and farm.

Despite drawing tourists from across the UK, weather-related problems can have a major impact on the popular attraction. He claims misleading predictions of bad weather which later do not materialise can be even worse.

Forecasts of Good Friday snow for the Swansea Valley area saw a rash of booking cancellations at the attraction, he said. But while coach parties made other arrangements, the day turned out to be one of blazing sun and blue skies, although quite cold.

As a result, Mr Price is taking legal advice designed to force weather forecasters to be more realistic and less pessimistic.

Mr Price acknowledged that it was difficult to know who had made specific forecasts and did not single out the Met Office. But a spokesman underlined the accuracy of its forecasts and described how it already worked closely with the tourism industry.

"The Met Office is trusted to give the best possible guidance on the weather by the public and we report the weather exactly as it is. Research shows forecasts are right six days out of every seven," the spokesman said.

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