CAFES and restaurants, pubs, campsites and hotels in the dales have been welcoming people back following the lifting of restrictions on the hospitality sector.

In order to help returning visitors with details on which businesses are open and where to go, park officers will be on duty outside the national park centres, including at Malham and Grassington.

Visitors are also being reminded to stick to the two metre social distancing and to follow the countryside code and leave villages, towns and beauty spots as they find them.

Neil Heseltine, chairman of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, said: “It’s great to see so many businesses back open, especially in the hospitality sector - which is so important to our local economy. Income from visitors helps to sustain services essential to community life over the winter months.

“To support people coming into the national park for days trips and longer breaks we have staff working outside our national park centres in Grassington, Aysgarth Falls, Hawes and Malham, to provide support and advice. They will be on hand with local information, maps, leaflets and tips for making the most of your visit.”

He added: “We also have a wealth of information and advice on our website, including details of accommodation providers, cafés, restaurants, pubs, short walks and visitor attractions. This will be particularly useful for anybody visiting for the first time.

“Finally, the safety of visitors and communities throughout the national park remains our number one priority, so we would ask everyone to stick to the two-metre social distancing rule, where possible.”

The national park is asking people to respect the land, the community and each other, and to revisit the countryside code. It is also telling people to expect a ‘different visitor experience’ in that businesses will have strict social distancing in place and a limit on numbers. Visitors should also plan in advance, stay safe and avoid disappointment.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement to cut VAT from 20 per cent to five per cent has been described as a boost for the tourism industry by Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive James Mason.

“It’s been a tough year for many businesses and hopefully this will be an incentive to encourage spending across the sector with people being able to take advantage of reduced prices on food, drink, accommodation and admission to the county’s amazing attractions,” he said.

“The tourism industry is worth £9bn to the Yorkshire economy and employs almost 225,000 people, and hopefully increased consumer spending will help secure the future jobs of many working within tourism businesses. A significant rise in visits to Welcome to Yorkshire’s website in recent months reflects a real thirst for daytrips and staycations in the county post-Covid-19.”