Tourism bosses are hopeful plans for a 125-mile coastal path will bring a boost to some of Cumbria’s quieter visitor destinations.

Welcoming the plans by Natural England for the path between Silecroft, near Millom and Cleveleys on the Fylde coast, Cumbria Tourism said it hoped the ambitious scheme would encourage visitors to broaden their horizons and venture beyond the typical Lake District hotspots.

Proposals to extend the England Coast Path were unveiled this week and will cover 71 miles in the county, taking in parts of the Lake District National Park, the Duddon Estuary and Morecambe Bay.

It will circuit the impressive lagoon at Hodbarrow and the sand dunes at Sandscale Haws and introduce new access around the Furness and Cartmel peninsulas and the Leven Estuary.

An eight-week period of public consultation is now underway and, if approved, will become part of the wider 2,700-mile-long network.

A number of partnerships and initiatives have been established in both Copeland and Furness in a bid to increase tourism numbers and spend, while Cumbria Tourism has continually stressed its commitment to attracting tourists to honeypots in The Lakes and dispersing them to quieter areas.

Head of partnerships at Cumbria Tourism, Rachel Tyson, said the organisation – which has around 2,500 members – welcomed the plans to open up Morecambe Bay and south Cumbria’s “stunning coast”.

“The English Coastal Path scheme not only links our county into a wider national network of trails but also offers the opportunity for locals and visitors alike to experience shorter sections, attracting them to areas they may not previously have considered,” she said.

“With so much scenery, history, foodie hotspots and more nearby we are sure this will become a firm favourite should the proposal go through.”

The plans have also been enthusiastically welcomed by councillors across the region, who hope the path will push it up visitor itineraries.

Chris Kaighin, Natural England’s area manager for Cumbria, said: “The proposed route showcases the Cumbria and Lancashire coastline, from celebrating our industrial heritage at Barrow-in-Furness, to capturing local beauty spots such as the viewpoint of Humphrey Head”.

According to the latest data from the Scarborough Tourism Economic Activity Monitor, better known as STEAM, Barrow district and Copeland borough were the two worst performing districts when it came to both visitor spend and numbers – although the picture has improved compared to recent years.

Tourism generated £123 million in Barrow and £183m in Copeland, putting them at the bottom of the list of Cumbria’s six districts in a list that was, unsurprisingly, topped by South Lakeland – which was responsible for £1.49 billion of the £3bn generated by tourism in the county.

Both Barrow and Copeland have revealed their ambition to increase their share of Cumbria’s vast tourism economy.

Plans to create a new Tourism Task Force for Furness were unveiled last year. It will develop ways the region can lure more visitors through both the Lake District and Morecambe Bay brands – building on its already hugely successful business tourism industry, fuelled largely by the BAE Systems Submarines facility in Barrow.

Copeland, which is home to huge sections of the Lake District National Park, has also held several events to develop plans to attract more visitors to the district and last year appointed a dedicated tourism development officer to drive them forward.