Cumbrian tourism business confidence ‘plummets’, study finds

Tourism businesses in Cumbria are seeing their confidence levels “plummet” ahead of winter according to a recent survey, prompting calls for a winter package to protect the county’s tourism industry.

More than 150 tourism-related businesses across Cumbria were surveyed in the study supported by independent chartered accountants Lamont Pridmore. 

The survey found that almost half of respondents did not feel confident that their business can survive the next six months, and nearly two-thirds did not feel confident about their longer-term survival.

Cumbria Tourism also found that 10% of businesses are still unable to open in a viable way. A reduced average capacity of 75% of what it would normally be was coupled with a  “significantly” lower average spend

The report also looked into the impact on jobs. It said that 43% of businesses continue to use the furlough scheme, 75% will not be recruiting and 23% plan redundancies.

Cumbria Tourism’s survey comes after Visit Britain forecast a 49% decrease in domestic British tourism for 2020 earlier in the season.

The destination management organisation will now partner with MPs including Tim Farron and the Lake District Hotel Association to renew its plea for urgent government intervention.

The collective has asked for funding for hospitality tourism jobs and a temporary extension of existing schemes, such as VAT rate extension, business rates and mortgage holidays extension and a renewed Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

Gill Haigh, managing director of Cumbria Tourism, said: “A number of crucial markets remain decimated, including international visitors, group travel, corporate, large parties, events and weddings. 

“We need continued Government intervention to support businesses and Cumbria Tourism will continue to make the county’s voice heard at the highest levels as we continue to call for urgent action.” 

 Ben Mayou, chairman of the Lake District Hotel Association, added: “Government initiatives such as furlough, grants, loans, VAT reductions and the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme have all been welcomed by the industry. 

“With no way of making up the income lost and the furlough scheme due to end on 31 October, we agree with the findings from Cumbria Tourism’s research that business survival confidence has worsened and back calls for this package of continued support.”

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