Cumbria Tourism Vice Chairman represented members and the visitor economy at the recent Lake District National Park Authority’s (LDNPA) Local Plan Examination in Public alongside other bodies including the Lake District Economic Forum, Friends of the Lake District as well as other mainly single issue campaigning groups or individuals. The inspectors interim findings are expected to be published in January 2020.

CT put forward evidence in line with the Executive Board’s response to the consultation. Other views expressed ranged from those that believed the plan provided for unlimited and inappropriate commercialisation throughout the National Park to those that believed the plan limited development to the point where communities were not adequately provided for. Having sat through this examination Dan is confident that the Inspector and the LDNPA will produce a balanced and sensible plan which will provide for appropriate development of businesses and housing while protecting the thing that is all our reason for being here, the fantastic Lake District landscape.

Who will be the tourism trailblazers leading the way in the new decade? World-class businesses from across Cumbria’s £3billion tourism industry are being urged to showcase their stand-out success stories, with the launch of the Cumbria Tourism Awards 2020.

The search is now on to find out who’s setting the standard in a world-renowned visitor economy which supports 63,000 jobs across the county.  With a reputation as the ‘Oscars’ of the tourism sector, the Cumbria Tourism Awards give businesses the chance to highlight the achievements, talents and sheer diversity which make Cumbria’s visitor offer so hard to beat.

Tourism-related businesses have five weeks from today until 5pm on Monday 17 February to enter one or more of the 16 categories and share their successes from the last 12 months.  A wide range of tourism-related businesses are being encouraged to throw their hats in the ring, ranging from restaurants, guesthouses and B&Bs to self-catering accommodation, hotels, retailers and visitor attractions/experiences.

The finalists will be chosen by an independent panel of tourism experts and will have the chance to walk the red carpet at a VIP awards ceremony, taking place at Cartmel Racecourse on Wednesday 15 July. Eligible winners of certain categories will automatically feed up to the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2021, for the chance to gain national recognition.

One of the stand-out accolades on the night will be the Shelia Hensman Award for an ‘unsung hero’, where businesses have the chance to recognise the hard work and dedication of a talented individual who goes the extra mile to create a world-class visitor experience.

The full list of categories for the Cumbria Tourism Awards 2020 includes:

  • Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award
  • Large Hotel of the Year sponsored by Christie & Co
  • Small Hotel of the Year sponsored by Colliers International
  • B&B and Guest House of the Year sponsored by Lamont Pridmore
  • Self-Catering Accommodation of the Year sponsored by Out of Eden
  • Camping, Glamping & Holiday Park of the Year sponsored by NatWest Commercial Banking
  • Small Visitor Attraction of the Year
  • Large Visitor Attraction of the Year sponsored by H&H Reeds Printworks
  • Pub of the Year
  • Taste of Cumbria Award sponsored by The Cumberland
  • Ethical, Responsible & Sustainable Tourism Award
  • Experience of the Year sponsored by Carlisle and Lake District Airport
  • Makers and Producers Award
  • Wedding Venue of the Year
  • New Tourism Business Award sponsored by Thomson Hayton Winkley
  • The Sheila Hensman Unsung Hero Award

The judges will be looking for tourism businesses that demonstrate excellence and innovation across their products and services including: the visitor welcome, marketing, quality and sustainable / environmental practices.  Winning an award brings substantial benefits including raising a company’s profile, increasing customer confidence and potentially generating additional business.

One of the 2019 winners was Castlerigg Hall Caravan, Camping and Glamping Park at Keswick. Owner David Jackson, said: “We were thrilled to win a Cumbria Tourism award, which we believe is a fabulous showcase for the tourism sector in our amazing county. Applying for the award gave us that additional motivation to keep us looking to improve on the service and product we offer, whilst recognising the hard work and dedication of our team here at Castlerigg Hall’.

Meanwhile, The Regent Hotel in Ambleside won Small Hotel of the Year 2019.

Owner Andrew Hewitt commented; “We’ve been here at Waterhead Bay for almost 40 years, and in that time we’ve witnessed so much growth and development in the tourism sector of the Cumbrian economy. The Cumbria Tourism Awards celebrate the best that our county has to offer and give us all a platform to showcase what we do best, so to be involved in something so prestigious was very exciting!”

 Full details about how to enter and the application forms, entry criteria and terms and conditions can be found at www.cumbriatourism.org/awards.  Businesses do not need to be a member of Cumbria Tourism to apply.

 Cumbria Tourism is grateful to its sponsors for making the competition possible again this year.  They include: headline sponsor United Utilities alongside Carlisle Lake District Airport, Cartmel Racecourse, Christie & Co, Colliers International, The Cumberland, EWGA Wines, H&H Reeds Printworks, Lamont Pridmore, Lawson Design, Out of Eden, NatWest Commercial Banking, Shortridge and Thomson Hayton Winkley.

A group of Cumbrian tourism businesses are heading to two of India’s largest cities next week (13-16 January 2020), to help make the most of the UK’s growing appeal to visitors from one of the world’s fastest growing economies.

The newly launched ‘English Lake District India Forum’ was recently set up by Cumbria Tourism to bring together businesses to collectively target the fast-growing Indian market.

A number of those businesses have now joined together to represent the county on an overseas trade mission.

Tour operators are increasingly co-ordinating visits to key UK locations such as London and Edinburgh, and the aim of the mission is to further raise awareness of our county and ensure the Lake District, Cumbria, becomes a firm fixture on those itineraries.

VisitBritain’s trade mission will be the first trip of its kind involving such a large Lake District contingent and will include a series of face-to-face meetings, workshops and networking events with around 300 influential Indian travel agents and tour operators.

The Cumbrian delegation of thirteen businesses will be part of forty from the UK who are making the trip to Mumbai & Delhi, which accounts for more than 40% of outbound tourism businesses from India to Britain.

The full list heading to the Indian sub-continent includes:

  • Armathwaite Hall Hotel & Spa
  • Cumbria Tourism
  • Gilpin Hotel & Lake House
  • Grasmere Gingerbread®
  • Langdale Hotel
  • Lake District Country Hotels
  • Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway
  • Mountain Goat Tours & Lindeth Howe Hotel
  • Pennington Hotels & Muncaster Castle
  • Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway
  • The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction™
  • Ullswater ‘Steamers’
  • Windermere Lake Cruises

Sales & Marketing Executive at Cumbria Tourism, Francine Bult, will be among those taking part in the Indian trade mission. She says, “India is a region of significant growth and offers some incredible opportunities to help grow our £3billion visitor economy, supporting all year-round tourism and dispersing people to all areas of the county.

“Cumbria Tourism’s renewed India-focus is a key international marketing priority and we are excited to be working with so many like-minded businesses to help forge even stronger links with overseas trade contacts and promote our region to potential visitors from the Indian sub-continent.”

The trade mission is just one part of a busy calendar of activity the English Lake District India Forum have planned for the coming months. Other upcoming plans include the release of a destination video for Indian travel trade, along with a series of targeted online developments and continued one to one meetings and networking sessions with top Indian travel contacts.

The winner of MasterChef 2019 has been confirmed as a special guest at the forthcoming Lakes Hospitality Show on 25 & 26 March 2020, where she will be creating special dishes made from nationally and internationally renowned local Cumbrian produce.

Irini Tzortzoglou hasn’t been wasting any time, having already highlighted local products including Kin Vodka, Hawkshead Relish, beverages from the Lakes Distillery, Claire’s Handmade and even Windermere Artisan ice cream as potential ingredients for her creations.

One of the region’s biggest trade events of 2020, the Lakes Hospitality Show is Cumbria’s longest-running show of its kind and is organised by The Lakes Hospitality Association (LHA) alongside Cumbria Tourism.

Irini, who impressed MasterChef judges in early 2019 thanks to her ambitious cooking methods, says, “Coming from Crete, which is acknowledged by many as the European seat of eagerness to show hospitality – as well as a foodie island, I feel that I fit right in in Cumbria. It is a wonderful county which welcomes millions of visitors every year and its tourism industry has such a strong culinary focus.

“I have always considered myself extremely fortunate to have homes in two very different places, Cumbria and Crete, where nature is stunning, the people are warm and hospitable, and much time is taken by many to produce amazing culinary delights. This is my hope for this year’s LHA show where I will create dishes that I love using great, world-famous local produce.

“I was honoured to be asked to participate at the LHA show this year and I will very much enjoy bringing together the abundance of wonderful Cumbrian produce made by passionate artisans and elements of my culinary heritage, demonstrating what is possible with only a small amount of effort and time, along with a lot of enthusiasm.”

Cumbrian hotelier and Director of the Lakes Hospitality Trade, James Tasker, says, “We’re so pleased to announce Irini as one of our special guests, especially so soon after she brilliantly won such a prestigious TV cooking show. We’re delighted and have no doubt that Irini will come-up with some amazing ideas and we’re all very excited that she’s planning on using local produce to come up with what are sure to be extremely tasty creations!”

The 2020 event will celebrate the show’s 45th anniversary, at the Junction 36 Rural Auction Centre. Just a one minute drive from the M6 motorway, the show is not only one of the biggest in the north of England, but one of the most easily accessible.

More than 1,250 delegates from across Cumbria, Lancashire, Yorkshire and beyond were welcomed through the doors during last year’s two-day event, where the show hosted a record-breaking 136 stands for a wide range of hospitality businesses including tourist attractions, food and drink suppliers and support services such as IT technology and catering equipment.

For 2020, even more exhibition stands have been made available, giving businesses from across Cumbria and the north of England the chance to showcase their products and services to hospitality industry businesses from all over Lancashire, Cheshire, Manchester, Liverpool and the North East. The 2020 Lakes Hospitality Trade Show will also include the introduction of ‘Level 1’; 17 new stands created for smaller or start-up businesses, for just £225+vat for both days.

Also appearing at the Lakes Hospitality Show are wine expert Joe Wadsack, whose TV credentials include regular appearances on shows including Great Food Live, Saturday Kitchen, Ladette to Lady and Richard and Judy. A columnist for The Sunday Express, Joe also writes for magazines including ‘Waitrose Food Illustrated’, ‘Red’ and regular articles in the trade press. Joe also judges at various international wine competitions and acts as a consultant to numerous companies in the wine trade.

Meanwhile, Andrew Coy will bring his tales of his 50+ years working in the hospitality trade to the event, putting a focus on how to deliver the very best customer service. Andrew is Proprietor at Simply Banqueting and undertakes consultancy contracts in Private Houses, Villas, Hotels and Venues. Andrew also manages VIP areas at major events, acts as a mentor for young managers, leads courses for those undertaking customer service training; and also trains and develops butlers in both private and corporate service.

To find out more about exhibiting at the Lakes Hospitality Trade Show, visit: www.lakeshospitalitytradeshow.co.uk

As a new decade gets underway, Cumbria Tourism is urging businesses across the county to make the most of free one-to-one business support sessions to help them grow and innovate.

There are now just three months left to access personalised business support sessions with Cumbria Tourism staff, as part of the Cumbria Growth Catalyst programme.

The aim is to help Cumbria’s small or medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to strengthen their business, with three-hour advice sessions on subjects ranging from business development, marketing and PR, to accommodation quality and website reviews.

Cumbria Growth Catalyst is being delivered through Cumbria Business Growth Hub on behalf of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP).

To be eligible, businesses must have been trading for more than three years and their primary focus must be working directly with consumers.

Beatrice Hooson is coordinating the sessions for Cumbria Tourism. She says, “The start of January is a great time to take stock and make plans for the year ahead. Every personalised advice session will result in a follow-up report and practical suggestions to help them develop as a business, so this is a fantastic opportunity to tap into the knowledge and expertise of our advisors and develop constructive ideas and leads for the future.”

Cumbria Growth Catalyst is delivered as part of Cumbria Business Growth Hub, bringing together and simplifying access to national and local business support.

To apply, or to check if your business meets the qualifying criteria, contact Beatrice Hooson on: bhooson@cumbriatourism.org / 01539 822222.

Business energy bills are complex, there’s no doubt about that. With a widening range of non-commodity costs now taking up a majority share of the invoice, it can be both confusing and time consuming to effectively recognise whether your business is being billed correctly.

Although the increase in available energy data gives you better insight and understanding, such a wealth of data can also be so daunting to tackle that energy managers don’t know where to start. A business with many sites in its portfolio will have hundreds of half-hourly meter reads automatically submitted each day, creating huge volumes of data to process. Large organisations with smart or AMR meters installed across their portfolio might think these will prevent billing errors, however, this is not the case and your business could still be at risk of being overcharged.

There are several explanations for incorrect charges and billing errors, from right across the supply chain. Inaccuracies can occur from taking incorrect meter readings, applying third party charges, confusion on change of tenancies and on supply contracts being set up inaccurately.

A systematic, efficient process reinforced with advanced error checking and reporting software is required to ensure validation is completed to the highest standard to make sure billing errors are correctly identified, investigated and corrected.

In the UK’s move towards net-zero, using a reputable business energy consultant to conduct your bill validation will allow them to identify consumption reduction opportunities, while reviewing the benefits of any energy optimisation measures you’ve already implemented. A great way to promote energy efficiency to your stakeholders, set yourself ahead of your competition, boost your CSR credentials and save money.

Without invoice validation, there is often no way of knowing whether a bill is correct or ensuring accurate charges for the future.

 

Recover Historical Overcharges

As important as it is to ensure your current invoices are accurate, if your previous bills have not been effectively audited it is likely that retrospective errors are still waiting to be recovered. Businesses can recover incorrect charges for up to the past six years and the entire process can be managed end-to-end to make it simple and stress-free. Using a consultancy to review your historical billing data means errors can be identified and recovered on your behalf, with the potential to receive a significant refund that had previously been paid incorrectly.

Professional Cost Management Group (PCMG), part of Inspired Energy plc, has identified more than £17.4m in refunds and savings for clients since the start of 2019, by looking deeper into their energy, water and telecoms expenditure. In addition, refunds and savings amounting to £42,933,546 have been recovered for the public sector alone.

 

To find out what savings and refunds your organisation might be eligible for, get in touch today. Call 01772 689 250, email partnerships@inspiredenergy.co.uk or visit www.inspired-referral.co.uk

In the third quarter of 2019, electricity generated in the UK via renewable energy sources surpassed electricity derived from fossil fuels for the first time.

Recent research from Carbon Brief showed that domestic and business consumers have embraced a move towards cleaner power, with 40% of UK electricity coming from sources such as wind, biomass and solar. Although renewables took the lead by just a 1% margin, in light of the current climate crisis, this is undoubtedly a step in the right direction.

Many businesses, especially SMEs, think they don’t have the money to invest in green energy, but something as simple as switching your power contracts can make a huge difference – and it doesn’t always mean you’ll be paying more.

 

Green Energy Suppliers

Green energy tariffs have been rising in popularity over recent years as businesses realise the need engage with the fight against climate change and help the UK reach its Net Zero target by 2050. As an independent consultancy, our mission is to help businesses reduce their carbon footprint through green energy procurement and enhanced energy efficiency measures. We can help you find the best priced green energy contracts, and, in many cases, we can source green contracts for the same price as the standard, non-renewable tariff. riffs have been rising in popularity over recent years as businesses.

 

What Exactly is a Green Energy Tariff?

 Because our electricity in the UK is generated via a mixture of renewable and non-renewable energy sources, it is likely that whatever tariff your business is on, some of your supply has come from sustainable sources. However, if you sign up to a green energy tariff, your supplier will promise to match all or some of the electricity you use with renewable energy sources which feed back into the National Grid. So, by choosing a green tariff you are helping to increase the proportion of green energy being fed into the system – making changes to the UK’s fuel mix and moving away from our dependence on fossil fuels.

If you want to know that your tariff is fully green, we work with suppliers who source electricity from 100% renewable sources – some use biomass, for example, which uses natural waste to produce energy, and is much less harmful to the environment than fossil fuels.

 

Carbon Offset

Energy suppliers are also embracing carbon offsetting, where carbon-reduction methods are used to balance the carbon footprint of the electricity and gas that you purchase.

There are plenty of options available for choosing a tariff that is kinder to the planet without compromising your profit margins – our green energy experts will help find the right tariff, according to your business’ needs.

 

Green Gas

 And it’s not just electricity. Most homes and businesses use natural gas, but you can still choose a green tariff for your gas contract. We can arrange a gas contract where the supplier will use carbon offsetting to balance the gas you use. Additionally, certain companies now supply ‘green gas’ as part of the fuel mix, which uses organic matter and turns it into biomethane using anaerobic digestion – a process which is virtually carbon neutral.

 

Green Energy is Good for Business

Aside from the obvious environmental benefits, green energy can demonstrate good corporate social responsibility and is a great thing for your business to shout about. If you do choose a green energy contract, we can arrange for REGO-backed certification to be sent to you, showing the origin of your supply. You can display your certification proudly for your customers to see – and it can also help when trying to get your workforce engaged with efficiency measures.

 

The Greenest kwH is the One You Don’t Use…

 Talking of efficiency, as well as green energy procurement, we can help businesses reduce their carbon footprint in other ways such as through LED lighting, energy monitoring software and energy efficiency projects. If your premises are suitable, we can give advice on self-generation technologies including solar, battery storage, biomass and heat pumps. Whatever your goals, our utility experts can find a solution to help your business become a greener and more environmentally responsible energy consumer.

 

To find out how Inspired Energy plc can help your business go green, get in touch. Call 01772 689 250, email partnerships@inspiredenergy.co.uk or visit www.inspired-referral.co.uk

Nominations are now open for VisitEngland’s Tourism Superstar competition 2020.

VisitEngland’s Tourism Superstar award recognises and celebrates those in the tourism industry who go the extra mile to ensure tourists across England have an amazing and unforgettable visitor experience.

Tourism Superstar nominees are passionate about where they work and the destination they live in and consistently set the bar high for the standard of service in England’s tourism industry.

It’s now your chance to put someone forward from your business to be considered for the Cumbria nomination

To qualify for the Tourism Superstar 2020 competition potential nominees must:

  • Work for a tourism business or organisation in England and continue to work for that organisation at the time of English Tourism Week
  • Be knowledgeable and passionate about the destination they work in and happy to talk about the destination outside of their work remit
  • Go above and beyond the call of duty to make the visitor experience memorable
  • Be available and willing to travel to London or be on site at their workplace from 20 January- early February 2020 to be filmed and happy for that film to be posted on The Mirror website for a number of weeks and used on VisitEngland’s social media channels as well as those of Cumbria Tourism and their employer
  • Be willing and able to attend an event in London on 23 April 2020 St George’s Day
  • Be available to attend the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2020 ceremony in June 2020 exact date and venue TBC
  • Be aware that they have been nominated and happy to participate in any related PR and media opportunities during or post the announcement of the winner
  • Finalists will be required to fill in and sign a waiver form to allow VisitEngland rights to the films created
  • Previous winners must leave at least one year before applying again

To put someone forward as the potential Cumbria nomination, please email us providing their name, job role and employer, along with answers to the following questions from VisitEngland:

  • Why should this person win Tourism Superstar 2020 and how does your suggested nominee represent Cumbria as a destination? (Max 800 words)
  • Brief details of the channels that would be used to support the nominated Superstar to gather votes.
  • What activity would the employer undertake to drum up interest and votes?
  • What would it mean to the employer to have a member of their team recognised through this national award?

The deadline is 10am on Monday 6 January 2020.  Please respond to pressoffice@cumbriatourism.org with your suggestion.

Submissions will be considered independently by the Cumbria Tourism Awards judging panel and ONE individual will go forward as the Cumbria nomination.

 

With eco-friendly weddings set to be one of the top trends for 2020, the organisers of the Lake District Wedding Fair say going green will be the big theme of next February’s showpiece event.

After welcoming more than a thousand people to this year’s inaugural Lake District Wedding Fair, 2020’s expanded event will feature a new ‘Natural Wedding Zone’ to help inspire couples looking for greener ways of tying the knot.

It’s the only event of its kind to bring solely Cumbria-based wedding venues and suppliers together under one roof and will take place in the Exhibition Hall at the J36 Rural Auction Centre on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 February 2020.

The Wedding Fair is also expected to include around eighty other exhibitors from across Cumbria, as well as live entertainment, the ‘Look’ fashion show, street food vendors and a series of special workshops to help couples plan their big day.

Event professional Nick Hood has been joined by Natural Cumbria Weddings Manager Annabel Candler to help arrange the 2020 event.

Annabel says, “Weddings can unfortunately lead to a lot of waste and some negative effects on the environment, and that’s why so many couples are looking at simple ways they can make their big day more eco-friendly. After working in the industry for more than ten years, I am thrilled to be part of this venture into the natural way of living and excited to showcase some wonderful green alternatives for both wedding parties and the businesses themselves.”

“The Lake District Wedding Fair isn’t just about the ceremony and the reception,” adds Nick Hood. We want to showcase the full Lakeland experience, including what to do the day before or after the wedding. With its awe-inspiring landscape, many couples travel from across the country to get married in the Lake District and we hope this event will help inspire many more to consider the wide range of options on offer here.” 

For more information about exhibiting or visiting the Lake District Wedding Fair, contact: www.lakedistrictweddingfair.co.uk.

Or speak to the organisers on 015394 47692 / info@akedistrictweddingfair.co.uk