Cumbria Tourism is increasing pressure on the Government to support the county's tourism and hospitality industries during winter.

The organisation, which represents 2,500 businesses, said a recent survey found that while 78 per cent were confident of survival for the next three months, only 50 per cent felt the same way looking ahead to six months and a third felt confident they would survive the next two years.

Cumbria Tourism welcomed the announcement last week by Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the Government was looking at packages to help the tourism industry over winter, but as yet the detail of what the support will look like has not been made available.

It said its survey reflects that it is key to provide clarity and reassurance and is calling on the Government to do so quickly.

Gill Haigh, managing director of Cumbria Tourism, said: “At the moment, around a third of businesses expect to fully reopen in early July, while others will partially reopen.

"While they are eager to welcome visitors back though, the average opening capacities of around 60 per cent, based on the current two-metre social distancing ruling, will mean that for many businesses it will be difficult for them to make a profit.

"This is why it is absolutely crucial that financial support for the sector is forthcoming."

The survey also found that increased costs were a worry for three quarters of businesses, with a fifth expecting to make redundancies or reduce staff wages.

Ben Mayou, Lake District Hotel Association chair and general manager of the Castle Green Hotel in Kendal, said: “Our member hotels and attractions are working hard to reopen and capture at least some of the summer season.

"The introduction of flexible furlough is on face value a positive step but with the requirement for employers to contribute to this over the coming months we are already starting to see redundancies.

“It is essential that the Government comes forward without delay to share their plans to support tourism businesses over the winter period and avoid further job losses.

"Owners need information and guidance as a matter of urgency to formulate battle plans to have any chance of surviving into 2021”

Mrs Haigh added: “It's also important to recognise the impact that losing businesses from the hospitality sector will have on other businesses which benefit from tourism.

"It’s not just tourism operators who will lose out if businesses fail, but this will affect the whole community and other businesses on a wider scale due to secondary spend dropping.

"This is clearly unsustainable, and we need to know more about the government’s plans as soon as possible which is why we’re applying more pressure than ever, on behalf of our members.”

Keswick's Theatre by the Lake recently announced significant redundancies and the cancellation of their winter programme to ensure the producing house is able to reopen in 2021.

Liz Stevenson, artistic director and James Cobbold, executive director said: “We have added our voice to our industry’s calls on Government to consider specific support for theatres.

"We must see further investment quickly and, like the hospitality industry, further clarity from the Government."