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The Impact of Tourism Economies on Housing in Cornwall: A Critical Evaluation
In partnership with Cornwall Council (Economic Growth and Development, Housing Strategy and Partnerships)

The Impact of Tourism Economies on Housing in Cornwall

Michael Ireland, Lucy Ellis, Institute of Cornish Studies.

Key questions

  • How inter-related is the relationship between tourism, the economy of Cornwall, and housing supply and demand?
  • Is there a dependency relationship between tourism and host communities; and tourism and the local authority?
  • What myths regarding housing supply can we explore and challenge, and what do the existence of these myths tell us?


Using qualitative and quantitative methods, this study aims to answer questions on the inter-relatedness that is perceived to exist between tourism, the economy of Cornwall, and housing supply and demand. For example, how is housing supplied to host communities affected by tourism? What are the benefits and dis-benefits of tourism in Cornwall and how do they relate to housing?

Over the course of the project, we will provide new knowledge and greater clarity for policy makers (Cornwall Council) and other stakeholders to inform decision making in support of the tourism and housing sectors of the economy. It is important for us to be able to understand what is thought of the dependency relationship between (i) tourism and the host communities and (ii) tourism and the local authority, and to take the opportunity to challenge a number of myths which pervade the supply of housing in Cornwall. The existence of myths represent important issues and in this case they can point to social isolation and access to services by marginalized people.


A literature review will encompass existing academic papers, reports by non- governmental organisations and local authorities, of relevance to the research topic. A substantive body of statistical data already exists requiring secondary analysis to give a clear framework for this research (time limited to cover the last decade, 2010 – 2020).

Qualitative fieldwork will be carried out in selected areas, based on the judgement of the researchers and stakeholders. This is likely to consist of 'face to face' interviews, focus groups and observation at local meetings where issues related to the research area are discussed.

Benefit to Cornwall

The research will contribute to a platform for new academic inquiry on issues affecting contemporary Cornwall. It aims to make available previously unavailable information on how people experience the housing market in tourist economies characterised by lower than average incomes and seasonal employment.

Partly as a replacement for EU funding, the Shared Prosperity Fund and within this, the Local Industrial Strategy are being launched. Cornwall’s leaders will be required to contribute to this and the research will be of practical benefit in providing information about affordability and the economy, how housing can be matched with economic growth and the impact of affordability on inclusive growth.