A new national survey of potential visitors is forecasting good news for the Lake District and Cumbria ahead of the scheduled start of the hospitality sector’s reopening from Saturday 4th July.
Around half the people who took part said they expected to take more day trips and overnight stays in the UK than usual over the next 12 months. A further 54 per cent said they expected to make fewer trips abroad, instead switching to a domestic break.
The survey into future travel habits was carried out by Cumbria Tourism primarily using its visitor database and social media channels, which has a combined reach of hundreds of thousands of people. Sponsored the Cumberland Building Society, its findings were released ahead of the next stage of the Government’s gradual lifting of lockdown restrictions which will involve hospitality, leisure and tourism next month.
The results from respondents show their attitude to Cumbria in the coronavirus era and included:
- 83 per cent consider Cumbria to be a safe place to visit
- 44 per cent said they plan to visit Cumbria in the future – but will wait a little longer before making any decisions
- More than 90 per cent would feel safe visiting outdoor places like parks, gardens and villages in the coming weeks
- 70 per cent would feel safe in hotels, guesthouses and B&B accommodation, as well as at visitor attractions with both indoor and outdoor facilities
Gill Haigh, managing director of Cumbria Tourism, said: “When you consider what the country has been through over the last 12 weeks, it is clear that The Lake District, Cumbria, is viewed as a perfect place to recharge and reconnect with loved-ones.” She stressed the importance of safety for local residents as well as visitors and staff, adding: “We would like to thank the thousands of people who responded, all of whom have played a really important role in our ongoing work to help businesses recover from a very difficult start to the year.”
Like the rest of the UK, no pubs, restaurants or hotels in Keswick and the North Lakes have been open since March 23 because of coronavirus restriditions. Accommodation providers, including guest house and B&B owners, are being given a 4th July re-start date but other businesses in the hospitality, tourism and leisure sector, notably pubs and bars, are still awaiting the official go-ahead.
The lockdown has been a hammer blow to Cumbria’s tourism businesses, which following closure are now having to bring in a range of safety measures, including two-metre distancing and hand-sanitising equipment. The survey results show that visitors want to embrace responsible tourism, with 98 per cent expecting to witness regular cleaning in operation, while 96 per cent would like easy access to hand sanitiser stations. A further 92 per cent would take comfort in seeing social distancing signage and rules, with overwhelming support for limits on visitor numbers and reserving places in advance at attractions.
Grant Seaton, the Cumberland Building Society’s senior business lending manager, said: “It is really encouraging to see that the results show that people do wish to return and that they are making considered decisions with everybody’s wellbeing in mind. It’s positive news for businesses, the communities they are based in and also for all of the visitors who want to enjoy Cumbria again.”
Last year, almost 48 million people visited Cumbria, contributing £3.13 billion to the local economy and supporting 65,500 jobs.