TOURISM in the Lake District will profit from another boom in Staycations - staying in the UK rather than going abroad - say Barclays.
The bank predicts that between now and 2017, hard-up tourists will have more holidays in the North West including Cumbria and its famous national park.
The amount of money they spend on holidays in the North West could hit £12 billion by 2017 - up from £9.5 billion spent last year, said the company.
And hoteliers, B&B owners, pubs and restaurants are expected to reap the biggest benefits, it says.
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The bank says that growth in tourists from this country to the area will be driven by ‘continuing pressures on the cost of living, with many financially under-pressure consumers opting to bypass overseas travel in favour of domestic locations’.
Michael Hartig, managing director of Barclays Corporate Banking in the North West, said: “The economy is improving and confidence is certainly growing and, while this will lead to a gradual rise in the number of consumers looking to holiday abroad again, it is unlikely to precipitate a return to the holidaying habits we were seeing prior to the downturn.”
Ian Stephens, MD for Cumbria Tourism, said despite the upbeat forecasts, the county could not rest on its laurels.
He said: "We must continue to invest in quality and to proactively market ourselves as the destination of choice.
“We need increased levels of investment in our tourism businesses to satisfy the needs of a wide range of visitors, many of which are discovering the county for the first time.
“We need to communicate and showcase what we have at every opportunity in particular better using web technology.
"Marketing campaigns like Cumbria Tourism's #theplacetobe enable us to maintain our position as the UK’s primary rural holiday destination.
“But that said, businesses more than ever need to collaborate more to fund campaigns like this to enable us to maintain our market share and to be able to continue to grow both domestic and international tourism – future prospects are improving and the pace of change is increasing.”
Mr Stephens said the tourist board would be discussing some ‘radical ideas’ at its annual general meeting on June 25, which is held at the North Lakes Hotel, Penrith.
He said this would include exploring ways that the tourism industry can become 'more proactive to work on growth opportunities'.