A travel writer who suggested people visit Wales said he has ‘no further plans’ to stay there himself after being bombarded with abuse.
With a huge majority of countries requiring a 14-day quarantine on return to the UK, Simon Calder appeared on This Morning earlier this week to give tips on the best staycations.
The 64-year-old was told to ‘f**k off and stay in England’ after suggesting viewers could visit Gwynedd and Ceredigion, two of the few parts of Wales not under lockdown.
His advice was not well received by locals who branded him ‘an absolute f***ing knob’ and ‘a maggot’ in a string of hate messages.
Writing about the ordeal for an article in The Independent, Mr Calder explained he didn’t mind criticism but he had never ‘encountered such intense abuse as my well-intentioned remarks triggered this week’.
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He wrote: ‘Anyone lucky enough to have a public platform, it’s clearly quite right people respond how they want and I applaud feedback.
‘The intensity of negative comments were of a magnitude I’ve not experienced, completely off the scale.’
Mr Calder said his staycation tips followed travel advice and that he had not meant to upset anyone but it was an ‘interesting lesson’ on current sensitivities.
Sharing one of the ‘more polite’ messages he received he wrote: ‘”Worm!” emailed Kenneth Pedrick of Cardigan. “Why, in God’s name, are you sending the English (unbidden by anyone but you) out to the west coast of Wales to infect us with the virus when it’s just about the only place in Britain left uninfected, you maggot?”’
Another message, from Dion Humphreys from Porthmadog said: ‘Absolutely f***ing knob 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.’
Mr Calder said he had replied to many of the hundreds of people who messaged on social media, pointing out that his tips were in line with advice from the Welsh tourism agency Visit Wales.
He added: ‘The hundreds of people I inadvertently angered may be glad to hear that I have no further plans to book a stay in Wales.
‘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.’
Huge swathes of south and north Wales are under local lockdown restrictions, with with people unable to leave or enter 15 of Wales’ 22 local authorities, as well as the town of Llanelli and Bangor.
Bangor went into lockdown on Saturday evening following a sharp rise in infections.
Many of the areas with high coronavirus cases are in Welsh beauty spots, but Boris Johnson has rejected calls for an England to Wales travel ban.
It means people from locked down areas of England can holiday anywhere in Wales not under local restrictions.
The Welsh Government has said it will consider a quarantine measure for people entering Wales from coronavirus hotspots in the UK.
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