What do David Hasselhoff, mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington, actress Anna Friel, presenters Lord Melvyn Bragg and Helen Skelton have in common?They're among the celebrities trying to encourage more people to holiday in Cumbria as part of the recovery campaign to bring more staycationers to the area through the quieter autumn and winter seasons. Tourism businesses in the county have lost more than half their annual income. Having to close for four or five months during lockdown has cost businesses £1.5million in lost revenue, while 40% of the hospitality workforce remain on furlough.
It's hoped a busier winter may keep businesses going. Cumbria Tourism is still predicting the loss of around 18,000 jobs as a fifth of businesses could go under before next Easter, particularly when the Government's furlough scheme runs out at the end of October.
South Lakes MP Tim Farron is warning that the future of local tourism is far from secure, despite a rise in the number of people visiting the Lake District. He's calling for more support for hospitality businesses.
We've seen the number of unemployed people increase by six fold in the last few months. So I do not want the Government thinking that they can look at Bowness and think that somehow everything's okay again. It isn't. People are working hard, they're being positive, but we need a package of support to keep the industry going through to the start of the next season next spring.