There is much speculation and many conflicting views!

Will unbearable temperatures in southern European and equator countries encourage more UK or Cumbria ‘staycations,’ supported by warmer, drier summers at home? Or will wetter winters, increased storminess and perceptions of danger in continually flood damaged areas put visitors off?

Research findings show that the relationship between the impact of climate change and visitor behaviour is much more complex! Climate Change and the Visitor Economy research in the north west found that visitors in the region are fairly resilient to weather (eg. availability of better, affordable outdoor clothing), with socio-economic variables such as educational background, household incomes and marketing or the brand of the tourism destination, considered much more influential in determining behaviour.

Inevitably as winter snow cover decreases there will be reductions in winter activities – ice climbing, snow-ball fighting (!) and skiing. Where access is lost or restricted, for example, due to erosion of rights of way, damage to stiles or bridges or wildfire risk restrictions, visitors will be displaced to enjoy other places. Evidence following the damage Storm Desmond caused to nearly a fifth of the public rights of way network in the Lake District, showed visitor numbers temporarily fell, due to adverse publicity, extensive closures and repair works.

Image: Storm clouds over Derwent Water by Jill Brown