TOURISM had a £1.24 billion economic impact on South Lakeland last year - up nearly 4 per cent on 2016. 

The research by STEAM (Scarborough Tourism Economic Activity Monitor) is used by Cumbria Tourism to measure the volume and value of tourism across Cumbria to inform tourism policy and development.

South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) and other local authorities in Cumbria contribute towards the research, with the resulting figures used to help access funding and develop strategies around the visitor economy.

The latest figures show that South Lakeland contributed by far the highest share (43 per cent) of Cumbria’s total tourism revenue of £2.9 billion in 2017.

The tourism sector provides 15,932 full-time jobs in South Lakeland, up 2.1 per cent from 2016, accounting for nearly half of all tourism–related jobs in Cumbria. Many more people also find work in tourism on a part-time or seasonal basis.

Visitor numbers to South Lakeland are also up. In 2017, 18.35 million visitors came to the district, an increase of 1.8 per cent on the previous year.

Of these, 84.7 per cent (15.54 million) were day trippers; bringing in £598 million to the district’s economy. The other 15.3 per cent (2.81 million) were staying visitors, contributing £626 million. The figures also show that there has been a larger increase in the bigger-spending staying visitors since 2016 (up 4.1 per cent) compared to day trippers (up 1.4 per cent).

Overall in Cumbria there were 47.28 million visitors in 2017, an increase of 4.8 per cent on 2016.

Since 2009 tourism revenue in South Lakeland has increased by 37 per cent and the number of visitors to the district has gone up by 16 per cent.

Commenting on the latest tourism industry report, Councillor Graham Vincent, South Lakeland District Council’s portfolio holder for the Economy, said: “Once again we have a report that confirms how strong the South Lakeland economy is performing and what a vital role this district plays in the wider Cumbrian economy.

“The fact that nearly half of the entire £2.9 billion Cumbrian tourism revenue is generated in South Lakeland demonstrates what an economic powerhouse this area is, and it is gratifying to see that the long-term trends show both revenue and visitor numbers increasing in the district, supporting nearly 16,000 full-time jobs.

“Coupled with South Lakeland’s strong showing in other recent economic studies – including being ranked as Cumbria’s fastest growing economy and one of the most vibrant economies in the north west – we can see real progress on our key Council Plan commitment to help our towns and villages to thrive commercially and our mission to make South Lakeland the best place to live, work and explore.’’