THE Lake District needs more high-class hotels if it is to continue attracting tourists, according to a new report.
The study by consultancy firm Locum claims the region needs more four and five star accommodation, saying that many of the current guest houses and hotels in the area looked "tired".
The research - commissioned by the Northwest Regional Development Agency and Cumbria Tourism - also said sites for new hotels should be identified.
Phil Reddy, of the agency, said: "We have got some really excellent products in Cumbria - but the competition is becoming stiffer and we have to identify ways to stay ahead of the game."
Hotel owners across the county of Cumbria have hit back at the claims, with the Lakes Hospitality Association pointing out that millions was being spent on hotels in the area and that large developments were not possible due to the area`s status as a conservation zone.
Jonathan Denby, chairman of the Lakes Hospitality Association, told the BBC: "Everyone I know is spending and improving and looking to the future. Millions have been spent on top class hotels.
"We are a conservation area and hopefully soon a World Heritage site, so it is just inconceivable that anyone would get permission to build a large hotel in this beautiful place."
Richard Greenwood of Cumbria Tourism said there are opportunities for existing hotels to upgrade spa, gym and leisure facilities.