Cumbria Tourism is working with its partners to support the county’s tourism businesses as Brexit concerns grow.

The organisation says that anxiety caused by the ongoing uncertainty is increasing among its members, with tourism businesses fearing the impact of the continued political stalemate.

In Cumbria Tourism’s recent Business Performance Survey, 58 per cent of tourism businesses highlighted Brexit as bad for the region.

The greatest fear for many is that the Government’s current policy around migrant workers, with the £30,000 skills cap, will compromise the growth of Cumbria’s £2.9 billion tourism sector and destabilise the county’s economy as a whole.

Cumbria Tourism says European workers are an important asset to the county and there is widespread concern about the impact this will have.

Gill Haigh, managing director of Cumbria Tourism, said: “Talking to businesses in recent weeks and months, the labour issues and the ongoing uncertainty are the main concerns as visitors take a ‘watch and see’ approach and tighten their belts around their discretionary spend.

“At the same time, there are opportunities to further grow international visitors in a range of non-EU countries, particularly key markets such as the USA, India and China, and we are actively working with partners to tap into these, as well as work alongside Visit Britain to reassure European visitors.

“We know that our tourism businesses are very resilient and understand that adapting and innovating is the key to navigating through uncertain times.

"To support businesses, we are developing and updating a series of online resources and are partnering with other key organisations to help signpost help and advice.”

Cumbria Tourism has an online resource centre designed to offer help, support and advice on Brexit and its potential impact on tourism businesses.

The organisation is also working with its strategic partners to offer support for tourism businesses.

Simon Whitwham, general manager of Cumberland Business said: “It’s an unsettling time for local businesses. While the Brexit negotiations continue it is vital that businesses ready themselves for the challenges ahead, but also be clear on how to seize any opportunities.

"Our advice to local businesses would be to review your plans and contingencies to ensure they are robust and to understand what the potential impacts might be. Preparation is key."

Graham Lamont, chief executive of Lamont Pridmore, said: “Tourism and hospitality operators should check with their supply chain, particularly their wholesalers, to better understand whether the supply of the goods that are critical to their business operation, such as food, cleaning supplies and other consumables, will be affected.

"Ideally, they would wish to secure certainty around their ongoing supply or understand the impact of potential delays at EU borders.

"I think a deal with the EU will be achieved which should prevent such difficulties but it is prudent to be prepared nevertheless."