TOURISTS have helped create a huge financial boost in the South Lakes area following a 100 per cent increase in footfall in the Lake District.

Assistant chief constable Andrew Slattery believes the massive amount of visitors is a great way to kickstart to economy in the area once again, after he recorded a double in footfall in the Lake District and a 50 per cent increase at the fells when compared to last year.

“There has been a massive amounts of visitors during the sunny weather period recently,” he said.

“A lot of people are coming here and this is bound to get the economy back up and running in the area.

“During Covid we did not want people to come as they were not allowed to travel.

“The Lake District National Park Authority told me that in the Lakes areas it is 100 per cent higher than last year and on the fell side it is 50 per cent higher.

“This is over and above what we could have expected. Eden Valley and Westmorland were still fairly quiet though.

“The message from us at the police is that we are pleased to see the economy up and running again though.

“I ask people to respect the environment in the surrounding area.”

Despite the economic boost, the officer urged visitors to respect the environment after a number of reports of littering in the area since the lockdown was lifted.

A litter pick is taking place in certain areas around the Lakes over the weekend, and there has been numerous reports of rubbish being dropped by visitors.

“If everybody made fires and littered, then what would that mean for the environment,” he added.

“We need to preserve what we have here in the Lake District.

“I know this is a difficult time, but hopefully it is just a temporary issue as normally we would have a large proportion of our population in the UK abroad on holiday, so this is their alternative.”

A number of businesses have also welcomed the increase in footfall in the South Lakes area.

One business owner in particular is glad of the recent boom as he fears another lockdown could be detrimental.

Paul Jones, owner of the Folk Cafe in Bowness, said: “It’s been busier than most summers would be for us, even - right from the get-go.

“Even before we opened again properly, and were just doing takeaway coffees, it was really busy at weekends with the warm weather.

“I’d guess it’s been something between 20 and 30 per cent up since holiday lets reopened. There’s been so much custom I’ve not had the chance to get the exact figure, but I think it’s in that region. So it’s really risen sharply since then.

“I would say it’s not just people from within Cumbria, or the North West, but from across the length and breadth of the country that are coming in.

“It’s obviously great news for us - especially if there’s going to be another spike or even a local lockdown, as some people have been suggesting, in the autumn or winter.”

Jennifer Cormack, sales and marketing director of Windermere Lake Cruises, said the company had reduced the capacity on its vessels by more than half to comply with social distancing guidelines

Ticket buying and allocation was being done online, so the company is not nearly as busy as it would be in a usual year.

“Our self-drive vessels book every day - they are fully booked every day. They are ideal for social distancing,” she said.

“We usually have a huge amount of international visitors – obviously we are not getting them at all at the moment.

“We are seeing a huge amount of people coming to the Lake District that haven’t come before.

“And we are seeing a large amount of new customers that have never visited the Lake District, which is great. I do think the international (trade) will be a slow return.

“We are seeing a few more cars on the road than usual but that’s because people have been told not to use public transport.”

Mrs Cormack hoped this ‘staycation’ effect would continue as the region looked to get back on its feet post-pandemic.