A TRAVEL company’s pledge to cap the amount of holiday accommodation it provides to tackle ‘over tourism’ has been welcomed by the area’s MP.

Sawday’s managing director Mike Beven said it was time for the travel industry to address the ‘huge influxes’ of visitors putting pressure on the infrastructure of popular destinations and the subsequent ‘erosion’ of their characters.

The Lake District was one of 14 ‘at risk’ destinations identified by the company, which pledged to limit the number of properties listed by its three brands in each destination, Sawday’s, Canopy & Stars and Paws & Stay.

The number of properties offered in the Lake District by the company will be capped at 40 by Sawday’s, 20 at Canopy & Stars and 10 at Paws & Stay.

It is estimated that 15.8 million visitors come to the UNESCO World Heritage Site each year, with tourism worth around £3billion for the Cumbrian economy.

But the county has also suffered from increased traffic, parking issues, pollution, litter and a rise in second home holiday lets, as a result of its desirability as a holiday destination.

“Over recent years, we have watched as many of the destinations that we love, across the UK and Europe, have seen their character and authenticity eroded by over-tourism,” said Mr Beven.

“As the pandemic eases, there’s an opportunity to address the huge influxes of visitors increasing traffic, putting services under pressure and causing damage to the natural environment.

“This is a complex and multifaceted issue but one we feel that the travel and tourism industry needs to address as the current approach has no limits.

“We recognise that we are part of the problem, but also hope to be part of the solution by leading the way in taking tangible action to tackle over-tourism. 

“We know we are a small company, and our actions will not solve over tourism, but we hope we can encourage other organisations to do the same and help travellers to make more informed decisions about where and when to travel.”

MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale Tim Farron said the move was ‘brilliant’ and that too many properties were ‘swallowed up’ by the tourism industry, causing ‘damage’ to communities.

“Tourism is a really important thing,” said Mr Farron.

“It’s important for the economy, culturally, and we love that we have an area that people want to visit.

“To have a company understand that for the value it brings you can also have over-tourism is fantastic.

“The fact they’ve understood how they can do good and how they can do harm is brilliant.

“And I hope others will decide to do the same and follow suit.”