The Government's 'Eat Out to Help Out' scheme can play an important role in supporting the recovery of Cumbria's entire tourism sector.

That was the message from Cumbria Tourism managing director Gill Haigh, ahead of the launch of the scheme on Monday.

The scheme will mean a 50 per cent drop in the price of food and non-alcoholic drinks bought at participating venues, up to the value of £10, from Monday to Wednesday throughout the month of August.

As the boss of the body dedicated to representing Cumbria's tourism sector, Mrs Haigh has been vocal in recent months over the significant challenges faced by tourism businesses as a result of the Covid-19 disruption.

It is estimated that the county's tourism industry has lost about £2bn as a result of the coronavirus lockdown, and concern is still strong over the longer-term impacts of Covid-19 on the sector.

However, Mrs Haigh has stressed that initiatives like the Government's 'Eat Out to Help Out' scheme can play an important role in helping the whole sector find its feet again.

"This government-subsidised initiative not only means businesses will benefit, but it also means attractive savings for residents and visitors," she said.

"It also provides an incentive for people to visit new and inspirational parts of the county, or to rediscover those places they have missed in recent months, through day trips or longer stays."

Mrs Haigh said she hoped an enthusiastic take-up of the scheme in Cumbria will encourage an uptick in visitors to the county's broad range of attractions, such as Tullie House museum in Carlisle, which is one of a number of establishments to have signed up to the Government scheme.

“It’s a perfect opportunity for friends and family to reconnect, with the added bonus of being able to take advantage of the discounts on meals as many times as they like.”

Mrs Haigh added that Cumbria has a very strong reputation as being a home for "world class food."

"Let us not forget, we are proud to have more Michelin stars anywhere north of London, which immediately sets the tone.

"This is a great opportunity for all businesses which offer eat-in food to get back on the road to recovery, which must not disappear in the wake of Covid-19.

“Businesses have been working very hard to offer a Covid-secure environment, meaning those who dine can be assured of not just a great food experience but also a safe and reassuring one.

"By using the 'Eat Out to Help Out' scheme residents and visitors will also be supporting businesses and safeguarding jobs and livelihoods.”