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Cumbria's visitor economy could pay a heavy price for David Cameron's decision to "downgrade" tourism, according to a spokesman for Lakeland's 100 caravan and camping parks. Henry Wild of Skelwith Fold caravan park in Ambleside says the prime minister's ditching last week of the post of tourism minister was a disastrous mistake for Cumbria.
John Penrose, who stepped down from his post as tourism minister in the PM's reshuffle, will not be directly replaced, and his role will be taken over by sports minister Hugh Robertson.
"After the fantastic success and energy generated by London 2012, this is precisely the wrong time for the government to be downgrading its commitment to tourism," said Mr Wild.
"The London Olympics might not have impacted in a positive way on tourism in Cumbria, but the games have done a great job in raising Britain's profile throughout the world.
"This could have longer-term benefits for the Lake District, but this decision is now sending out all the wrong signals about the importance of our expensively-earned Olympic legacy," he added.
Mr Wild is the Cumbria branch director of The British Holiday and Home Parks Association to which some 3000 parks belong, including more than 90 in Cumbria.
He said that visitor numbers actually dropped on many Lakeland parks during the London games as people opted to stay at home and watch the events.
Although Cumbria, like many other regions, suffered an especially wet summer, Mr Wild doesn't think that this was a particularly significant factor in the dampening of demand:
"Lakeland has endured many rainy summers before, and in any case people come here not for the weather but for the scenic beauty and outdoor activities.
"The real drain on tourism has been the Olympics which was a spectacular event we all enjoyed, but the gain to our visitor economy is likely to be measured only in the longer term.
"Relegating tourism to non-Ministerial status is not the way to go about achieving this, and almost suggests a certain indifference by government to Britain's fifth largest industry.
"What we should be doing now is capitalising on the new-found enthusiasm for sports which the games has generated, especially those activities which are accessible to wide numbers of people.
"Olympic events such as horse-riding, cycling, sailing, rowing and archery - in which all our athletes excelled - can be enjoyed in Cumbria.
"Promoting the facilities and the environment to enjoy such pastimes will provide the Lake District with a real Olympic legacy, and an economic gain in which everyone can share," added Mr Wild.