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COVID recovery road map is ‘further blow’ to Cumbria’s tourism industry

Gill Haigh, Cumbria Tourism MD. Picture: Phil Rigby

The Prime Minister’s road map to recovery is a further blow to Cumbria’s tourism industry, the county’s tourism chiefs said.

Gill Haigh, managing director of Cumbria Tourism, said: “Everyone’s priority remains the safety of our visitors and our communities, but we have been calling for a clear road map to allow businesses to plan ahead for reopening and it’s helpful to now have this guidance to plan to.

“The loss of Easter is not unexpected, although it will be a significant further financial blow to an industry that has already lost £2 billion of income over the past 12 months in our county alone.

“Self-catering, camping, caravanning, retail and outdoor hospitality will potentially be able to open in a restricted way from April 12, but it is hugely disappointing for hotels and indoor attractions who have worked so hard to provide COVID-safe experiences and environments.

“We will be looking closely at the detail behind the Prime Minister’s announcement and of course, the Chancellor’s statement next Wednesday.

“Our sector was the first to be hit by restrictions – and indeed, it has been the hardest hit – and it is now the last to fully reopen.

“It is essential that the Chancellor supports the calls that Cumbria Tourism and the wider industry have been consistently making to retain the five per cent VAT rate, extend Business Rates Relief, extend furlough and provide support for those individuals and businesses who have been excluded from previous financial packages.

“We are encouraging everyone to continue following the guidance so we can all get back to normal as soon as possible and we can fully welcome visitors back to enjoy all our county has to offer without repeated disruptions for our businesses, staff and customers.”