LAKE District leisure bosses are bracing themselves for the potentially negative impact of the London Olympics next year.

They fear people will stay at home to watch the Olympics and that London will eclipse the Lake District in attracting foreign visitors.

Concerns about the impact have already started businesses thinking about ways in which they can counteract any possible downturn.

Early signals are already visible and businesses around the Lake District are seeing their usual annual bookings from foreign tour companies for the next summer are not coming in.

The Lakes Hospitality Association (LHA) chairman Jonathan Denby, predicted the flow of visitors from the Far East, particularly Japan, China and Australia, would largely dry up.

He said: “I hope the Olympics will show Britain in a good light, as did the Royal Wedding and that this will go towards undoing the damage to Britain’s image caused by the recent riots. The Lake District is one of the top UK destinations for foreign visitors after London and Edinburgh.”

The Lake District 2012 campaign is the brainchild of Barney Cunliffe, managing director of Gilpin Lodge, who said: “The Olympic Torch event in Bowness next June provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ride the wave of worldwide media coverage of the London Olympics and to raise the profile of the Lake District in key foreign markets.

“The additional attraction of the spectacular Lakes Alive performance on The Glebe that will follow immediately after the Olympic Torch event will provide a unique opportunity for bringing foreign journalists to the Lake District.”

Colin Monk, vice chairman of the LHA, said: “The Lake District 2012 campaign brings together for the first time organisations such the LHA, the Keswick Tourist Association, Cumbria Tourism and Lakes Alive all working to promote the Lake District as a world-class tourist destination.”

More than 200 people from Lake District hospitality businesses attended last night’s launch on Windermere, during which the campaign was unveiled.

The organisers are seeking sponsorship for the campaign. Visit