Hopes of a bumper bank holiday for Lakes businesses

  • Report by Fiona Marley Paterson

Millions of tourists and day-trippers are expected to head to the Border region for the big Easter getaway.

The Lake District is anticipated to be one of Britain's busiest destinations over the long weekend, hopes are high that it will be a bumper few days of trade for businesses despite the rising cost of living.

Before the pandemic, hospitality in the area brought in £3.12 billion, employing 1 in 5 people.

But that halved in 2020 - meaning a loss of £1.5 billion and 45% of the workforce.

Things improved last year but not enough to recover all those losses.

According to Mike Turner from Tree Top Trek, an outdoor adventure playground, the uncertainty is making it hard to predict what kind of season they're going to have - and Covid is one of the major issues.

"Everybody needs a good summer. Last year was a good recovery year, most people have identified that.

"But it didn't make up for the year prior to that, and of course there's uncertainty into the distant future as well.

"A few weeks ago we had eight staff off all at the same time with Covid. Thankfully none of them were too seriously ill but of course they all had to stay off work. Right now I've got none off.

"So it's as unpredictable as that. It's the same with customers visiting.

"At the moment it seems that very few are cancelling with Covid. But I can't tell you what it'll be like next week."

Fuel costs for Windermere Lake Cruises have risen by 70% Credit: ITV News

On top of Covid, businesses also have to content with the rising cost of living.

Operating costs have risen exponentially, and people aren't spending like they once did.

Jennifer Cormack from Windermere Lake Cruises says that the fuel costs for their ferries has gone up by 70%.

From the coffee to the laundry, costs have gone up so most businesses have put prices up.

But at the same time their customers are tightening the purse strings.

Mark Needham from  Low Wood Bay Hotel said: "We are seeing a little bit of slightly lower spending in terms of our bars and food outlets.

"People are a bit more wary in terms of how much they're spending when they're away.

"Whether it's a really nice of Sauvignon from New Zealand or a Chilean Sauvignon, it's slightly cheaper.

"People are saying well I'm not going to pay that so I'll have that one instead."

Coupled with struggles to recruit staff, businesses say they're pinning their hopes on having a good summer.