Fears over clash of Cheltenham festivals in 2013
HOTELIERS have warned there could be a clash of horse racing pundits and writing experts in Cheltenham next year.
And literature festival bosses are looking into the issue.
Bosses of hotels in the town fear the dates of next year's literature festival will clash with the dates of the October meet at Cheltenham Racecourse.
It comes after festival bosses announced the 2013 event would run from October 11 to 20 – which could lead to a doubling up with the annual event in Prestbury.
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Guy Hunter, who runs Butlers Hotel in Western Road, warned it would lead to a bottleneck of events.
Speaking on behalf of Cheltenham Hospitality Association, Mr Hunter said more needed to be done to ensure the events of the town were more evenly spaced.
He wrote to festival bosses, asking them to rethink their plan.
"Historically, the literature festival has been held over the first two weekends of October with the racing festival held over the third.
"The dates provided for the literature festival next October now clash with Racing 2013, which gives the town a problem instead of an opportunity.
"There was nothing wrong with the way things ran in the town this year so it makes you wonder why, when it isn't broken, they are trying to fix it. This time of year, things quieten down a bit and it would be useful if there was some joined up thinking on this for the common good of the town.
"There are 32 festivals in Cheltenham next year and they will bring many people into the town. It would make more sense to spread them evenly rather than creating a bottleneck over a single week."
This year's literature festival saw 133,000 fans of the written word descend on Cheltenham during the second week of October. A week later, 28,000 headed to Cheltenham Racecourse across two days to watch the horses.
Andy Clifton, spokesman for the racecourse, said he did not see a problem.
"This year was the first time since 2007 that we have not had racing at the same time as the literature festival," he said.
"It may be that people who come to one event would also want to go to the other."
But a spokesman from Cheltenham Festivals said they were aware of the issue.
"We have received an email from Cheltenham Hospitality Association raising their concerns," he added. "We are currently looking into it."