Businesses from across Cumbria’s £2.9billion tourism sector are being asked to put forward their questions for a ‘Question Time’ style Brexit debate taking place at next week’s Lakes Hospitality Trade Show.

The topical Brexit-theme panel will be one of the highlights of the event at the Junction 36 Rural Auction Centre on Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 March.

Just two weeks ahead of the planned departure date from the EU, it will be a chance for hospitality businesses to explore the specific effects of Brexit on the hospitality industry and discuss how business owners can take practical steps to maximise the positives and minimise the negatives.

The debate at 10.30am on Wednesday 13 March will be chaired by hotelier Jonathan Denby, who is Co-director of the Lakes Hospitality Trade Association. Joining him on the panel will be:

  • Gill Haigh, Managing Director, Cumbria Tourism
  • Martin McTague, Policy and Advocacy Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses
  • Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale
  • Andy Gould, Managing Director, South Lakes Insurance
  • Jennie Riding, Owner of The Lodges at Artlegarth


The audience will also hear from Copeland MP Trudy Harrison and Penrith and the Border MP Rory Stewart via pre-recorded video.


Up to 100 spaces are available to pre-register to be part of the audience on the day.

Businesses that cannot be there can also put forward their burning questions by emailing Sam Tollerson at Cumbria Tourism by Monday 11 March:


Co-director of the Lakes Hospitality Association, Jonathan Denby, says, “We are expecting this to be a lively and inspired debate. With all the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, it is an opportunity to look at some of the specific issues that matter to the hospitality industry, including free movement of people, migrant workers and future recruitment. This will be a great opportunity to hear from industry experts, as well as giving businesses a platform to air their views on the momentous days which lie ahead.”

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh says, “Cumbria has a unique rural economy that is heavily reliant on tourism and Brexit is a significant cause of concern and uncertainty. This debate will be a great forum to air a range of issues including border controls for visitors, import tariffs, the potential for increased operating costs and for many, the recruitment and supply of EU workers. Crucially, we can then use evidence gathered at the event to help our continued lobbying at the highest levels of Government – to ensure that the voice of our tourism and hospitality businesses is heard loud and clear.”

With a record 140+ businesses exhibiting at the 44th annual Lakes Hospitality Trade Show, a big turnout is expected across the two days. As well as the Brexit debate, well over 600 people have already signed up for a series of short workshops and seminars spanning everything from diversifying tourism businesses to tackling skills shortages and making the most of digital marketing.

Attendance at the show, along with all seminars and workshops, is free. Places can be pre-booked.

Bank Holiday Rail Closures

We have recently written to Network Rail regarding recent announcements over plans to close Cumbria’s two main rail lines over the Easter and May Bank Holiday periods.

We understand that this is a key issue for our members, with a recent Cumbria Tourism survey reporting that 45% of tourism businesses suffered due to transport issues. With so much of our county’s economy relying on visitors travelling to the area sustainable travel is a key factor and it is essential that we are able to offer a consistent and reliable rail service that tourists feel confident to use.

We will continue to monitor and speak against this and other similar issues on behalf of our members.



Cumbria Tourism continues to take action to urge Ministers to ensure post Brexit immigration proposals do no damage the county’s £2.9b tourism sector.

Back in October, following the Government’s Migration Advisory Committee recommendations and new restrictions for low skilled and low paid workers, Cumbria Tourism wrote to all 6 MPs and the Tourism Minister calling on their support to ensure the county’s unique labour demand needs are understood and met. It has subsequently given evidence to a Parliamentary Select Committee,  met directly to DCMS and shared it deep concerns with the policy department at Visit Britain.

With no sign of any relaxation to the proposed regulations Cumbria Tourism will continue to work with key partners locally, nationally and regionally to stress the urgent case for reconsideration.

The Cumbria Tourism team recently attended a sales mission to New York and Boston to represent England’s World Heritage Story.

The £250,000 Discover England Fund project, led by Cumbria Tourism, tells the story of England’s culture and heritage through the medium of the North’s outstanding UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The project has partnered with Mountain Goat to curate five itineraries showcasing visits to England’s six UNESCO World Heritage Sites and their close proximity, with no more than a 90-minute drive separating one from its nearest neighbour.

The team had a busy schedule of meetings with US travel agents, product managers and operations staff and highlighted the new bookable itineraries as key experiences to inspire visits to the North of England and its World Heritage sites, both as part of existing packages and brand new offerings. The sales mission was also a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness for the North of England and Cumbria as an easy-access destination

The sales mission also presented a good and very important opportunity to raise awareness for the North of England as an easy access destination which can be reached by direct flights from the US into Manchester and is also conveniently just three hours from London and two hours from Edinburgh by train.

This trip forms just one key part of the programme’s activities. The team have also attended Holiday World (Ireland’s largest travel show) in Dublin, and Britain and Ireland Marketplace in January, along with the UK Inbound Convention in February. These events are key dates for travel trade buyers and tour operators planning their itineraries over the next 18 months and offer many opportunities to promote the project as well as the full Cumbrian experience.

The six sites involved in the project are:

  • The Lake District National Park
  • Hadrian’s Wall
  • Durham Castle & Cathedral
  • Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal Water Gardens
  • Saltaire
  • Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City


Learn more at

The Cumbria Tourism team, alongside other North-West DMOs and film offices, took part in a live Twitter chat showcasing the region as a prime filming location.

The chat, hosted by Creative England, drew attention to high-profile film and TV productions based wholly or partly in the North-West (including Star Wars, Peaky Blinders, The Trip and more) as well as highlighting the wide range of locations on offer for future projects. Cumbria Tourism was a key part in the chat, working alongside our local DMO partners to ensure the highest possible reach. Overall, the chat’s #filminNWEngland hashtag reached almost 2 million individual accounts through 5.7 million impressions, with Cumbria Tourism’s accounts accounting for 20% of these.

Film production companies using Cumbria and the wider region as a location not helps to raise our profile by featuring locations on the big screen, an ideal hook for nearby businesses to use in their branding. More directly, the hosting of production crews is big business, with 2,600 on-location days in the North-West bringing an estimated £28,268,500 to the local economies.

The chat was a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with partners and draw attention to a different aspect of the tourism industry – we’re looking forward to working together again in the near future to highlight the North West as a destination for visitors from all backgrounds.

Missed the chat? Catch up with the highlights HERE.

To learn more about how your business can make the most of Cumbria’s film heritage, and for more information on how to be considered for future filming opportunities, contact Jonny Winter at

The first phase of a high-profile marketing campaign gets underway this week, aimed at supporting the tourism and hospitality businesses hardest hit by train disruption in recent months.


Following robust and sustained lobbying at government level, Cumbria Tourism worked with Cumbria County Council and Transport for the North to secure £285,000 for a marketing campaign funded by the rail industry. In its role as the county’s official Destination Management Organisation, it is now launching part one of this high-impact campaign in the countdown to the main 2019 holiday season.


The aim is to dispel perceptions that Cumbria is inaccessible by rail, as well as giving visitors practical ideas and inspiration to encourage them to book breaks away. It will support locations such as South Lakeland, Morecambe Bay and Cumbria’s West Coast, where businesses say they lost vital income during last summer’s train cancellations.


Outdoor advertising at key transport hubs in Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London Euston will run alongside targeted online marketing on platforms including Facebook and Spotify. There will also be content in high-circulation newspaper titles such as the London Metro and Manchester Evening News, alongside a PR campaign targeting social media influencers.


The activity will coincide with the launch of a new 25% discount off* selected off-peak Northern rail services in Cumbria.


Cumbria Tourism’s Head of Marketing and Sales, Rachel Tyson, says, “It has been a challenging period for travellers and it’s important that we not only rebuild confidence in the rail services, but also positively inspire potential visitors about the range of possibilities on offer in the Lake District, Cumbria.


“As well as highlighting train services, we will be signposting visitors to onward travel options, so they understand that connections are available to bus services and car hire from train stations, as well as regular scheduled boat services on Windermere, Coniston and Ullswater.  We want to get people thinking differently about all forms of sustainable travel, including buses and boats, so they are inspired to make the journey part of the overall experience rather than just a way of getting from A to B.”


Cllr Keith Little, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport says,    “I am delighted that Cumbria Tourism has received this funding for a marketing campaign to promote our beautiful county. Last year’s rail disruption had a severe impact on Cumbrian commuters and businesses, and we’ve worked hard to lobby for this funding. I am confident that the revised timetables and measures introduced by Northern will result in a more reliable and effective service that meets the needs of Cumbria as a tourist, business and academic destination.”

A second wave of activity will launch later this year, to coincide with the main visitor season.

A Cumbrian outdoor instructor has been named as one of ten finalists in a competition to find VisitEngland’s 2019 Tourism Superstar… and now he needs your vote!

The annual award, supported by the Daily Mirror, recognises the passion and hard work of tourism industry workers who consistently go the extra mile to ensure their visitors have a truly unforgettable experience.

The 2019 finalists have just been revealed with Cumbria’s own Tim Green named as one of the final ten. Tim, who lives in Keswick and is a director of Windermere-based CBA Events, is the only nominee in the North West to make the exclusive shortlist.

The overall winner will be announced during English Tourism Week (30th March – 7th April 2019) and will be invited to accept the coveted title at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence.


Tim, who joined CBA Events just three years ago, has been instrumental in spearheading a new phase for the company, persuading the owners of Windermere’s Graythwaite Estate to offer their grounds as a haven for highly personalised, tailored and unrushed outdoor pursuits. He certainly has a varied role, with his daily tasks ranging from instructing visitors on RIBs, canoes and stand-up paddleboards in the Lake District World Heritage Site, to arranging unique bespoke activity packages for a highly varied range of groups including corporate teambuilding sessions and stag and hen experiences.

Known for his motto “I’ll sort it” and his seemingly limitless patience and energy, even when de-rigging a set at 3am after an action-packed day, Tim’s hard work has caught the attention of the VisitEngland judges but it’s now up to a public vote to find the overall national winner.

Tim says “‘To be chosen to represent Cumbria as a Tourism Superstar is a real privilege; there are so many great people in our area providing fantastic visitor experiences that I was really delighted to be able to be an ambassador for the Lake District, Cumbria in this process. We pride ourselves on our personalised experiences, attention to detail and enthusiasm and to be recognised for this is fantastic.”

Gill Haigh, Cumbria Tourism Managing Director says “Tim has a true passion for his home county of Cumbria and actively sells the county as a wider visitor destination. As well as taking the time to get to know his customers personally and offer a high-quality visitor experience, he is always looking for ways to go the extra mile. Our work at Cumbria Tourism wouldn’t be nearly as successful without the work of committed individuals such as Tim – he definitely deserves the title of Tourism Superstar.”

The Daily Mirror is hosting an online public vote open until midnight on Tuesday 2nd April 2019 and Cumbria Tourism is urging people to support Tim to help both him and the county to receive as much exposure as possible. Supporters can vote online at on the Mirror website as well as helping to spread the word on social media using the hashtag #VoteCumbriaTim.


As the February half-term holidays edge closer, families can help support hundreds of Cumbrian attractions at discounted prices with a MyCumbria discount card.

The cards, produced by Cumbria Tourism, are valid for anyone who lives or works in a CA or LA postcode area (including in north Lancashire), with exclusive special offers including half-price entry to Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway, 50% off at South Lakes Safari Zoo and 20% off at Treetop Trek.

Also among the hundreds of discounts and exclusive offers are 2 for 1 deals at Lowther Castle, selected local cinemas, South Tynedale Railway, Rheged Indoor Play & cinema, Lakeland Wildlife Oasis, the Coniston Steam Yacht Gondola, the Senhouse Museum, Farfield Mill and afternoon teas at participating hotels.

Plus, for any holiday-weary grown-ups, stay with a friend or loved one at Lakeside Hotel & Spa any Friday night between now and 31st March for only £69 per person (based on two people). The brand-new offer includes dinner (with an allowance of £39 per person), bed & breakfast and unlimited use of the pool and leisure facilities throughout the stay.

Other brand-new offers added to the MyCumbria card just in time for the half term break include:

Mountain Adventure Lake District: One child goes free – on any activity, when accompanied by two paying adults.

Ruskin Museum, Coniston: Two adults for the price of one; with the same offer for children. A family ticket (two adults and two children) is £9 instead of £16 for card holders.

Grasmere Gingerbread spoon competition: Collect a free spoon to paint for their special spoon garden during the half-term holidays. All will be entered into a competition to win an Ultimate Cumbrian Hamper.

Gaynor Anderson – who oversees the MyCumbria card scheme at Cumbria Tourism, says, “This is a great card you just can’t afford to leave your home without. It’s not just great for families, but it’s a really strong way of supporting businesses here in Cumbria as 2019 gets into full swing. The team here has worked really hard to put together these offers, which should see big savings made really quickly over the half-term break and beyond.”

Details of every offer are online at

Thomson Hayton Winkley Solicitors have been unveiled as the latest organisation to be named as one of Cumbria Tourism’s official Strategic Partners.

The company joins a select group of influential tourism-related businesses who share Cumbria Tourism’s core values and desire to significantly grow the value of the county’s £2.9billion tourism sector for the local economy.

Thomson Hayton Winkley employ around 100 staff and provide legal services for tourism and hospitality businesses across Cumbria and beyond. As well as operating a legal helpline, it has five offices in South Cumbria: in Kendal, Windermere, Kirkby Lonsdale, Grange and the Junction 36 Rural Auction Centre.

Director John Cooke says, “It’s easy to think of tourism businesses as hotels and guesthouses, pubs and restaurants, but it is of course much wider ranging than that. We recognise the value of all businesses to the Cumbrian visitor economy and we aim to support them and build longstanding relationships.

“We have a strong history of representing clients in the tourism industry, so becoming a Strategic Partner means we are cementing that expertise in a way which helps us support Cumbria Tourism, its member businesses and other like-minded organisations who want to see the visitor economy grow and prosper for the benefit of everyone.

Our Managing Director, Gill Haigh, says, “We are proud to be one of the largest member Destination Management Organisations (DMO) in the UK and our Strategic Partners are a core network of organisations who want to get behind us share their collective expertise to champion the delivery of effective destination marketing for the county. It is important to draw on the experience and enthusiasm of companies like Thomson Hayton Winkley who have an in-depth understanding of the different parts of our £2.9billion tourism sector and can help us drive forward for the future.”

Thomson Hayton Winkley has expertise in areas such as buying and selling property and businesses, helping start-ups, dealing with disputes, employment matters and terms of business and helping people plan for the future.

Cumbria Tourism’s other Strategic Partners include:

  • ABP (Associated British Ports) Barrow
  • The Cumberland For Business
  • Forestry Commission England
  • Inspired Energy
  • Lake District Estates
  • Lamont Pridmore
  • NFU Mutual
  • University of Cumbria
  • United Utilities (Cumbria Tourism patron)
  • Windermere Lake Cruises

More information can be found at

Event to feature Brexit-themed debate for businesses

It may be in its 44th year, but the Lakes Hospitality Trade Show  is shaping up to be the biggest yet with a record-breaking 140+ exhibitors now signed up for the event. It’s also been revealed that a series of free workshops and seminars will feature a topical Brexit-themed debate just two weeks before the UK’s planned departure from the EU.

Momentum is building for Cumbria’s longest-running trade show, which will bring together a diverse range of hospitality businesses from across Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire at the Junction 36 Rural Auction Centre on Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 March 2019.

For the second year running, the Lakes Hospitality Association (LHA) is teaming up with Cumbria Tourism to stage the event, which this year coincides with the final countdown to the Brexit deadline.

Cumbrian hotelier and Director of the Lakes Hospitality Trade Association, James Tasker, says, “Businesses are telling us that Brexit is the hot topic they cannot ignore, so we’ve decided to stage a special panel debate as part of the show where businesses can explore how Brexit might impact them. That includes the steps they can take to maximise the positives and minimise the negatives.

 “It’s just one of a series of workshops and seminars being held across the two days looking at industry news and trends, from tackling chef shortages and diversifying your business to creating a digital marketing plan and working with social media influencers. With more than 1,200 people attending last year’s show, the event is an annual focal point for the region’s hospitality industry and it is a real opportunity to build relationships, showcase new developments and prepare for the year to come.”

Attendance for the 2019 Lakes Hospitality Trade Show is free and delegates can book ahead for the workshop sessions, including a place in the audience for the Brexit Panel Debate at 10.30am on Wednesday 13 March.