A PETITION calling on the government to help our flagging tourism industry rebound and recover after the coronavirus pandemic has been launched.

Cumbria Tourism and South Lakes MP Tim Farron have revealed their campaign to help the hospitality industry survive post COVID-19 .

It comes as Lakes business owners say they are being ‘left in the dark’ over Government guidelines, just a fortnight before they are due to reopen.

The financial support drive hopes to attract support from MPs and tourist boards across the country in the coming weeks.

“We all know how important hospitality and tourism is to our local economy here in Cumbria and just how devastating a blow this crisis has dealt to our local pubs, hotels, cafes and restaurants,” said Mr Farron.

“Having lost most of the 2020 season, these businesses are now facing three winters in a row. I’m proud to be joining forces with Cumbria Tourism to launch our petition for the government to provide a package of financial support to help tourism and hospitality all the way until it is able to stand on its two feet again next spring.”

Earlier this week, the MP also pushed the government to publish its data for businesses to reopen, arguing that many employers and workers are living in ‘considerable anxiety’ every day, ‘having been robbed of even the small amount of certainty that a road map would provide’.

Mike Turner, managing director of Treetop Trek, said that without cash support, job losses would be inevitable. Many tourist businesses like ours have already lost 40 per cent of their annual sales during the forced closure period and are facing another 30 per cent drop during the rest of summer with social distancing restrictions, said Mr Turner.

Dan Visser, director of sales and marketing at Langdale Hotel and Spa, echoed Mr Turner’s job concerns, saying: “Our industry is facing unprecedented challenges and the timing of the Covid crisis could not have been worse for destinations with a seasonal pattern of demand. The government support so far has been very welcome with many jobs saved and businesses supported through the most difficult times they have ever faced. Without the support carrying on into the winter many more jobs will be lost.” Rob Johnston, CEO of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: “Our concern is as the furlough scheme is phased out this autumn, many of these people will be made redundant.”