Pressures on the hospitality sector in Cumbria continue but signs are pointing to them easing, according to the results of a recent tourism survey.

It comes as figures from the survey showed a fall in tourism in the area more recently compared to previous years, with many issues reported including rising costs and staffing issues also having an impact on how businesses in the area can operate.

The Great Britain Tourism Survey 2023 report a 10 per cent fall in domestic holidays across England in 2023 compared to the previous year, and in Cumbria, 45 per cent of businesses reported a fall in visitor numbers in January this year compared to the previous year, according to Cumbria Tourism’s ‘Business Tourism Tracker 2024’.

But the figures also show the situation for some business owners is potentially starting to improve towards summer.

Visit Britain reported a forecast of 39.5million overseas visitors will holiday in the UK this year, an increase of 4.5 per cent from 2023, due to boost the economy by £34.1billion.

As is the case in Cumbria with 39 per cent of hospitality businesses in the county reporting an increase in bookings for June this year and 93 per cent feeling confident about their survival over the next six months.

The ‘resilience’ of Cumbrian businesses is ‘the one thing that has stood out’, according to Alasdair Swan, senior commercial relationship manager at Cumberland Building Society.

“We’re not out of the woods yet and there is still a lot of work to be done in order to ensure that businesses can continue to operate, but it’s fantastic to see a shift in the dial forecasted for this summer,” he said.

Cumbria Tourism’s tracker reported that 43 per cent of businesses have seen an increase in turnover this year, with 28 per cent seeing an increase in overall profits.

It is not all positive news, however, 87 per cent of businesses are still concerned about increasing costs with 38 per cent claiming this is their primary concern.

81 per cent of businesses are experiencing difficulty with recruitment, with 96 per cent attributing increases in wage costs as a concern.

Gill Haigh, Cumbria Tourism’s MD, said these challenges ‘are by no means over’, but said it’s looking brighter towards the summer, citing the pick up in last-minute bookings.

“We are continuing to focus on raising the profile of the county all year round to ensure Cumbria remains at the forefront of people’s minds when considering potential holiday destinations.”