TOURISM companies across Cumbria spoke out about how difficult this year has been on their books, despite no lockdown restrictions. 

Their financial year reflects a struggling industry, with almost all businesses in the tourism sector in Cumbria still having difficulty after Covid. 

Cumbria Tourism (CT) surveyed businesses across the tourism industry with accountancy firm Lamont Pridmore.

The autumn Business Performance Survey painted a grim picture for a sector that in 2017 contributed £2.9 billion to the local economy and supported 65,000 jobs according to CT. 

In Cumbria: Jen Cormack said that the statistics were 'startling' Jen Cormack said that the statistics were 'startling' (Image: Jen Cormack)

The headline statistics were that nearly half of businesses surveyed said that their turnover is down, and more than two-thirds report lower profits (69 per cent).

Cumbria's tourism businesses also reported a reduction in ancillary spending by visitors (40 per cent).

According to the document, a quarter (25 per cent) of tourism (recruitment) vacancies in Cumbria are unfilled, with up to 50 per cent of positions in some businesses vacant.

The survey pinned this on factors such as consumer spending going down because of the cost of living crisis, the cost of energy, and the lack of affordable housing for staff.

95 per cent of businesses surveyed said that the cost of energy was a concern.

READ MORE: Cumbria Tourism figures paint grim picture for hospitality

Jen Cormack, the sales and marketing director for Windermere Lake Cruises said: "It has been a difficult two and a half years, with varying challenges along the way.

"As the largest attraction in the area, we are also one of the largest employers, with between 150 and 200 staff in the peak season.

"As a business, we are experiencing similar stats and trends (to the Cumbria Tourism survey). Although the statistics are startling, as businesses we are reassured by these, as they do illustrate that we are ‘all in the same boat.’"

In Cumbria: Carol and John Watson from Lakes Escapes in WorkingtonCarol and John Watson from Lakes Escapes in Workington (Image: Lakes Escapes)

Lakes Escapes is an escape room business in Workington. Owners Carol and John Watson received an email from their energy supplier which projected rates on their annual usage to increase by £26,500.

Carol Watson said: "We can't put prices up, we are in West Cumbria, people with personal finances couldn't afford it so we can't put our prices up, we haven't for the past five and a half years."

She said the business would have to close if their outgoings continued to be so high.