With many holiday makers planning UK ‘staycations’ this year, there are growing concerns as to whether the Lake District National Park Authority can cope with the increased number of tourists predicted to visit this Easter break.

Latest figures reveal that Cumbrian tourism has lost an estimated £2 billion because of the coronavirus pandemic, and with continued closures of accommodation, pubs, B&Bs, and campsites, there is a risk that visitors may put a significant strain on services that are being provided.

“Businesses have now faced effectively three winter seasons in a row,” said Gill Haigh, Cumbria Tourism managing director.

“Of course, the first priority must be the management of the pandemic, but it is vital that the tourism sector, which has often gone above and beyond to help protect visitors, staff and communities, is not hung out to dry."

She added: “It’s vital to plan your stay beforehand and know exactly where you will be going.”

Post-lockdown last summer saw an influx of visitors with a rise in reports of anti-social behaviour, wild campers, and country lanes blocked by parked cars. This sparked concern for councillors that this Easter break might be a repeat of last year.

However, the LDNPA’s stance is optimistic that they have learnt from last year’s mistakes, Cath Johnson, ranger for the national park’s northern area, said that hotspots will carry out regular patrols through March to October while more car parks are set to be arranged and pop-up campsites should ease the growing number of wild campers.

Carlisle MP John Stevenson recently coordinated a joint meeting between Cumbria Tourism and five other Conservative MPs on the strategies to dealing with the Cumbrian economy.

He said: “Tourism is such an important part of the Cumbrian economic landscape – it is vital that the county works together to ensure that when things start to re-open, the industry can succeed once more and the response has to come from all levels. From local authorities and organisations like Cumbria Tourism right through to the national government.”