A building society in Cumbria said more support is needed for the tourism sector in the county.

The Cumberland said the tourism sector has faced increasing adversity in the past few years, with the pandemic having a large impact, and a brief respite felt post-lockdown being short-lived.

The emergence of the ongoing cost-of-living crisis saw Brits tighten their purse strings, leading to an inability to spend freely, they said.

Cumbria Tourism recently reported 46 per cent of businesses in Cumbria saw a reduction in average spending per customer over the past three months, and along with that, 94 per cent are concerned about rising bills, 86 per cent of rising costs, and 66 per cent about passing on these increases to customers.

The crisis could be a step too far for the sector, despite the Government’s introduction of its tourism recovery plan, The Cumberland said.

Despite these challenges, the Cumbria Tourism report suggests confidence is rising.

63 per cent of businesses expressed confidence in their survival over the next five years, and increase from the previous figure of 45 per cent recorded six months ago.

A spokesperson from The Cumberland said: “(We) continued to help local businesses fulfil their potential and realise their aspirations.

“By implementing a relationship-managed approach and putting its people at the heart of what they do, The Cumberland has helped numerous businesses successfully navigate the challenges and supported them during the moments which matter most.

“The relationship-managed approach is something The Cumberland has strived to hardwire into its genetic makeup.

“The Cumberland Building Society has been lending to the hospitality industry for over 20 years and has provided more than £20million in investment to the hospitality sector in the past two years alone.”

A selection of Cumbria’s tourism businesses The Cumberland said it helped include Peel Castle in Brampton, Cedar Manor in Windermere, and The Cottage in the Wood in Keswick, the latter saying they benefitted from The Cumberland’s ‘kinder banking’ initiative.

Kath and Liam Berney own the venue, but due to overwhelming popularity during the pandemic when international travel was restricted and Brits opted for staycations, the couple were at risk of becoming a victim of their own success.

Staff shortages and supply chain issues saw their restaurant reservation waiting list grow to three months long, and The Cottage was unable to cope with their rediscovered demand.

The Cumberland extended their existing loan by three years in order to bring down monthly payments, freeing up cash to spend on service improvements and gave them £50k in investments to spend on recruiting staff to match demand.