Holly and Phil’s co-star at centre of abuse after show segment ‘I understand the concerns’

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This Morning’s travel correspondent Simon Calder, 64, said he has received vile abuse from viewers and residents of Wales after he suggested holiday makers could visit parts of the country if they pleased, despite the current coronavirus situation. Ofcom confirmed the segment had sparked more than 100 complaints.

Simon joined Holly and Phil via video call to suggest places to visit in Wales for holiday makers.

He told viewers people could visit mid-Wales as many areas in the south and north are under local lockdown restrictions.

The travel reporter suggested visiting the likes of Gwynedd, Ceredigion and Machynlleth in Wales as well as Belfast and Edinburgh in Scotland.

Addressing the abuse he had received, he wrote in his column with The Independent: “When I nominated Machynlleth, Aberystwyth and all stations to Pwllheli as an autumn break in Wales did people want to heckle.”

Giving examples of some of the abuse he had received, Simon said he was branded a “f*****g k**b head” from a resident in Wales.

The person in question added: “There’s a reason parts of Wales are going in to lockdown, we don’t want you lot bringing more cases to Wales.

“Now f*** off and stay in England.”

Another commented: “You utter, utter irresponsible id**t. Ceredigion DO NOT want people to visit.

“How dare you suggest people go on holiday there as it’s a low-risk area for Covid. They want to keep it that way!”

Simon went on to say he had written back to those who slammed his segment “to highlight the remarkable alignment between my recommendations and those of the Welsh tourism agency”.

The travel correspondent added that some of the advice he followed was from Visit Wales, who are currently taking bookings for visitors.

“I intended to inspire travellers to enjoy, responsibly, a part of the UK that is rich in wonders, and hoped their visits would in turn support local businesses,” he added in his column with The Independent.

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He went on to say: “I understand the deep concern of any community that is fearful of outsiders spreading this vile virus.

“Quite rightly, it is for the people of Wales to decide whether, when and which tourists should visit the nation.

“The concept of quarantine targeted at visitors from high-risk areas of England, as outlined by the Welsh health minister this week, has merit.

“But meanwhile there is a tourism economy to support.”

Fifteen of Wales’ 22 counties are currently facing local lockdown restrictions.

It has since been revealed that people will not be able to enter Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, and Wrexham unless they have a “reasonable excuse”.

The new measures came into place in a bid to tackle the continuous soar in coronavirus cases.

To date, there has been 575,679 positive coronavirus cases and 42,679 covid-related deaths in the UK.

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