The physical and mental impact of Covid-19 lockdown is driving demand for the UK’s £15 billion accessible tourism sector.

Consumer confidence is returning as the disabled community plans to resume travelling as restrictions are lifted.

The message comes from a new study by Lake District accessible activity breaks centre Calvert Lakes, which found that 60% of those with disabilities, their carers or their family members, are planning to arrange an accessible break during the remainder of 2020.

As many as 95% will be booking in the UK, rather than abroad.

Calvert Lakes interviewed hundreds of disabled holidaymakers plus their carers and family members, for their views on the accessible tourism market in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The research found that 72% believe the physical health of the disabled community has been adversely affected by the Covid-19 lockdown, while 84% believe the mental health of the disabled community has suffered.

But obvious concerns and worries remain with 40% of the survey sample needing to take into account additional shielding measures due to their underlying health issues.

Almost a quarter (21%) will not book a residential activity break until all restrictions, including shielding guidance, are lifted, while 6% say they will not book a break for those in their care until there is a Covid-19 vaccine.

Covid-19 safety measures on-site are also considered key. Half of respondents would prefer housekeeping to keep out of bedrooms while 52% expect contact free check in and perspex screens. More than a third (35%) expect staff to be wearing face masks.

Trustees and senior staff implemented a survival plan in March when the extent of the crisis became cleato ensure that the organisation can spring back to life and are now making plans to reopen towards the end of the summer.

Calvert Lakes sales and marketing business manager Justin Farnan said: “This research is a huge boost for the UK’s accessible tourism market as it indicates a strong desire to book a break over the coming months.

“There are very obvious and understandable concerns in the disabled community over Covid-19 considerations but the need to address the physical and mental health aspects of the lockdown is driving demand. It is clear that consumer confidence is returning.”

He added: “We know the importance of what we do here for our visitors and are making detailed plans on how to deliver our operations while accommodating the new rules we are anticipating.

“This may involve us making some changes to the activities we offer, layout of the accommodation and dining areas, plus opening the centre to those just looking for somewhere safe and secure to recuperate.

“We’ve been here for over 40 years and are looking forward to helping vulnerable people enjoy the fresh air and countryside for many years to come.”

Helen Hunt, who organises the Cumbria and Lancashire Rotary Club visit to the centre, said: “The lockdown and isolation of the last two months has an even bigger impact on those with disabilities than the general population, adding to the restrictions and difficulties they face in daily life.

“We really worry about how this will affect their longer-term physical and mental health and it is our plan to come to the centre as soon as we can.”