COVID-19's impact on the county's tourism economy has already been devastating, new figures show.

More than £1.5 billion has already been lost due to the virus, according to tourism bosses in Cumbria.

Threatened tourism and hospitality businesses are looking ahead to usually-quieter autumn and winter months with concerns over the tapering off of Government support scheme cash.

A 'staycation' boom during July and August has not been enough to stave off huge losses, the revenue numbers underline.

Commenting on the impact thus far, Gill Haigh, Managing Director at Cumbria Tourism, said: “It is a very complicated picture here in Cumbria.

"Many businesses have not been able to viably reopen and of those open average capacities are just 75% of what they would be due to the important need to operate in a Covid safe way, as well as the additional costs incurred operating in this new way. This clearly impacts significantly on bottom lines.

“Coupled with that we know that visitor habits are different this year and spend is significantly down. The summer, and particularly the school holidays, is the time of year this sector makes its money to see it through winter but with so many months lost this year due to closure between March and 4 July and then the trading picture outlined above for July and August, it is clear businesses are under incredible financial strain.

“Overall our research shows that more than £1.5billion has already been wiped off the county’s tourism income this year and businesses are now increasingly concerned about the traditionally quieter autumn and winter period.

“The visitor economy is a huge and critical part of the county’s overall economy and supports 65,000 jobs. Cumbria Tourism is continuing to fight for our industry at the highest level and is in regular contact with our MPs, government departments and national bodies including VisitBritain and the Tourism Alliance to make the case for additional financial assistance and support to ensure the future sustainability of Cumbria’s vital visitor economy.”