Tourism could take a huge hit if the is a no-deal Brexit and potentially 700,000 jobs could be lost over the next ten years, according to new figures.

Brexit is everywhere and debates on how it will effect the economy are coming thick and fast. March 29 is the focal point as this is the day that the UK is scheduled to leave the EU and with this in mind there is still a lot of uncertainty.

At the moment the British government is at logger heads with what to do and the vast majority of the public have become “sick” of the topic, but in real terms the effect could create a huge problems for the tourism industry with a potential to leave a £18.6 billion hole in Britain’s GDP, a trade body has warned.

How this will impact Cumbria, which is far more dependent on tourism than most other parts of the UK, could be significant.

Managing director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, said:“As Cumbria’s official destination management organisation, Cumbria Tourism undertakes regular surveys with tourism businesses to track long-term trends and business performance, and analyse factors affecting the sector.

"We are monitoring the situation and tracking the feedback we get from our members about their experiences.

"Our research repeatedly demonstrates that Brexit is a significant cause of concern and uncertainty for our members; and our recent business performance survey, sponsored by Lamont Pridmore, revealed that the main areas are: border controls for visitors, import tariffs, impact on overseas visitor numbers, the potential for increased operating costs and for many, the recruitment and supply of EU workers.”

The tourism industry plays an important role in this rural county and Mrs Haigh continued: “Cumbria Tourism has been lobbying hard over the last 20 months or more to raise awareness of all these issues at the highest levels, including The Home Office, VisitBritain, and the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Media and Sport, House of Lords and via our own MPs. Cumbria has a unique rural economy that is heavily reliant on tourism, a sector which in 2017 generated £2.9billion and supported 65,000 jobs.”

Some 308,000 UK-based roles and a further 399,000 in European Union states would be at risk if Britain left without a Withdrawal Agreement, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.

Its analysis looked at how a no-deal departure on March 29 might affect the tourism sector over the next 10 years.

Gloria Guevara, the president and chief executive of the WTTC, said: “The UK is the fifth largest travel and tourism economy in the world.

“Given its importance to the UK economy it is now clear that a no-deal Brexit would have a dramatic impact on one the UK’s most important economic sectors.

“If the IMF prediction on the wider economy is realised, there would be a total cost across Europe of over £40 billion and over 700,000 jobs, in our projections.

“Our members are already seeing an impact on their businesses and workforce.”