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‘Couldn’t come at a worse time’: business owners bemoan transport chaos

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theguardian.com

“People have written the week off,” says Stuart Proctor, the boss of the Stafford hotel in Mayfair, where he says this week’s transport strikes have meant tens and thousands of pounds in lost restaurant bookings.“Numerous large parties have cancelled for dinners and lunches,” says Proctor, who also oversees the Norma restaurant in Fitzrovia.

Hotel bookings are holding up as most are from international visitors who are largely unaffected by the train strikes, but he says walk-in after-work trade is likely to be down. “People are working from home [during the strikes] now they have got used to it,” he said.While London is expected to be the most affected by the fall in visitor numbers resulting from the three days of industrial action, industry bodies said there would be some effect across the country.The strikes could deliver a “fatal financial blow” to some businesses struggling to survive, with restaurants, pubs and holiday accommodation expected to lose £540m in trade this week.From central London shops and theatres to regional festivals and holiday cottages, businesses around the country are expecting cancellations and disruption as as result of the strike.Industry insiders have raised fears of gridlocked roads in Somerset as Glastonbury festival revellers joined those travelling to the West Country by car.The regional tourism body for Cornwall said: “It has been a far tougher year and the rail strike is not helping.

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