THE effects of the nerve agent attack on tourism in the city are becoming clear, as fewer visitors arrive for the summer holidays.

July saw 793,684 visitors to the city, compared with 907,437 the previous year, a drop of 12.5 per cent, according to footfall figures from Salisbury Business Improvement District (BID).

The city also suffered in June, welcoming 978,921 visitors compared to 1,063,132 in 2017 (down eight per cent).

In the year to date, the number of visitors to the city is down 12.5 per cent, steeper than both the UK and South West averages, both less than three per cent.

In March, the month that Sergei and Yulia Skripal were poisoned with a nerve agent in the city, the number of visitors dropped 14 per cent compared to 2017.

The lack of visitors is having an effect on city businesses and attractions that rely on the tourist trade.

In March and July, the months in which the city has seen an increased police presence and cordons set up, Salisbury Cathedral’s footfall was down on average 26 per cent compared to last year.

Overall in the year-to-date, there have been 17 per cent fewer visitors to the cathedral than in 2017.

And Salisbury Museum saw a significant decrease of 53 per cent in visitors in March (1,402 visitors, compared to 3,008 in March 2017).

Overall the museum’s visitor numbers are 44 per cent lower than they were at this point in 2017.

Louise Tunnard, the museum’s communications officer, said this has had “a huge impact” on ticket and retail income.

“We are an independent charity and income from visitors is vital,” she added.

“As to the future, it is so difficult to predict, but so far, we have only experienced a very few cancellations of forward group bookings.

“We will continue to have a strong and vibrant offer and are determined to weather the impact of recent events in Salisbury.”

Brian Simm rents out a room in Crane Street, close to the Cathedral Close, through Airbnb to tourists and visitors.

Last year he had more than 30 nights booked by foreign visitors to the city in August and September. This year he has received just one reservation, with no new bookings for visitors from overseas since the beginning June.

“Last year, or in previous months, we always had about six or seven Americans a month, but this year there are none,” he said.

“The downturn in staying visitors seems to be real.”