Responding to Matt Hancock’s announcement in the House of Commons today, the Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says:
“Cumbria’s tourism industry thrives on welcoming visitors and providing first-class hospitality. It has been hit hard financially by the challenges of recent months, so it’s good to see the majority of our businesses out of lockdown and getting back to what they do best – albeit in a more limited way.
“At the same time, it’s a major concern that some businesses, such as wet-led pubs, will not be able to open. Some of the areas Cumbria traditionally draws on for its visitors are also facing tougher restrictions, with government advice not to travel from some parts of the North West, North East, Yorkshire and the Midlands. Dealing with this adds to the complexities and challenges facing businesses on a day-to-day basis, on top of the huge raft of measures they have already undertaken to ensure they are COVID-safe and ‘good to go’.
“Cumbria Tourism is grateful for the extension of the furlough scheme and other financial support, which we lobbied hard for, but these schemes in no way recompense the income already lost this year – a total of £1.86billion across our county, which is more than 60% of our visitor economy’s total annual value.
“We will continue to work alongside regional and national industry partners to ensure businesses are adequately supported throughout this unprecedented situation. Further businesses closures would be devastating not only for owners, but also to staff, their families and the wider community.
“At this time, the ‘support local’ message is more important than ever, and we are also encouraging Cumbrian residents to make the most of what’s on their doorstep. Cumbria is blessed with many wide-open spaces, not only stunning mountains and lakes but also parks, historic houses and more. Cumbria looks forward to welcoming both visitors and locals in line with all the latest guidelines. Our county truly has something for everyone, and every penny spent at a local business goes towards supporting communities and jobs.
“The situation is ever-changing, with a review scheduled for 16th December. We are hopeful for an improved situation to enable increased trading over the Christmas and New Year period and will monitor the situation closely.”