Destination Management Organisations from across the country have joined together to back a campaign encouraging government to ensure the tourism sector is supported through Winter 2020.

Last month a petition was launched by Tim Farron MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale alongside Cumbria Tourism, the county’s destination management organisation, asking visitors, businesses and partners to show their backing for a government winter support package. The petition has quickly gained momentum including support from cross party politicians as well as National Park leaders. Now, Destination Management Organisations the length and breadth of the country are adding their weight.

Malcolm Bell, Managing Director of Visit Cornwall said: “Hospitality and tourism is critical to our local economy, here in Cornwall one in three private sector jobs are in the visitor economy and this crisis has been devastating to thousands of businesses.  Having lost most of the 2020 season and summer trade though welcome is only going to be damage limitation as these businesses are now facing three winters in a row.”

James Mason, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire said: “The Tourism industry in Yorkshire is worth £9billion and employs 225,000 people. It is a huge part of the Yorkshire economy and as England’s biggest county we are able to attract huge numbers of domestic and international tourists coming for our countryside and coast, national parks and vibrant cities, history and heritage as well as our arts and cultural offering. We stand shoulder to shoulder with every other major DMO in the country in the request for support so that we can provide the support and confidence to thousands of businesses struggling now and give them the opportunity to survive this period and return to profit when the sector returns to its former position.”

Chris Brown, Chief Executive of Marketing Liverpool, added: “As destination management organisations we have worked together to support businesses over the last four months and more and it is clear that what all of our businesses have in common is the urgent need for confirmation of an extension of existing government support into the winter. This will provide the confidence to businesses who are struggling to make their businesses viable and give them a chance to be able to stand on their own two feet again next Spring.”

Managing Director of Marketing Peak District and Derbyshire said: “The coronavirus crisis has had a devastating impact on the Peak District and Derbyshire’s £2.3 billion visitor economy, and our hard-hit tourism and hospitality businesses have already missed out on a large part of the critical summer season. Whilst many businesses are eager to reopen, the restrictions in place mean it will be difficult for them to sustain their offer as they all juggle financial viability with limits on capacity and levels of investment to adapt their business. Without a winter package of long-term financial support, many businesses and associated jobs will simply not survive.”

Rachel McQueen, Chief Executive of Marketing Lancashire, said: “We have been very grateful for the government support made available to date, however, too many of our businesses are still falling through the gaps and some have already sadly had to close. We have to secure a longer term package of support to make sure that all the effort these businesses have put in to weather the initial storm isn’t simply wasted as they struggle through the winter.”

Sheona Southern, Managing Director from Marketing Manchester highlighted: “City destinations are also facing a very tough period ahead: hotels in Manchester are forecasting a slump to 30% occupancy levels through the autumn and winter, when they would normally trade at 80%. This will have a massive impact on the wider Tourism, Hospitality & Leisure economy, as cities are often the gateway for visitors to explore the wider region. It is therefore vital that Government provides destination organisations with an appropriate package of support that enables them to address local issues and priorities.”

South Lakes MP Tim Farron said: “I’m massively grateful to tourism leaders from right across the country for adding their support to the campaign. This is very much a national issue with hospitality currently the UK’s 4th biggest employer. I am in regular conversation with MPs from across the House about gathering cross-party support so we can continue to push the Government to help this crucial industry through the winter.”

Gill Haigh, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism said: “Throughout this crisis, Cumbria Tourism and our fellow Destination Management partners across the country have worked tirelessly to support tens of thousands of businesses. We share a common understanding not only of the challenges these businesses face but also the critical importance they play to local economies and place. That is why we are uniting in our call to government to work with us to help ensure businesses can survive, save jobs and be able to play a strong part in the UK’s economic recovery.”

Ready for business? I am ready to help!

By Ben Beetham, Director of Partnerships at Inspired Energy

It’s been twelve working weeks since lockdown measures were introduced across the UK and thousands of businesses have been desperately looking into the most effective way to cutting costs, in order to survive the Coronavirus crisis. Now, as many begin to reopen for business, there is some key information I’d like to share with you.

Managing costs is important for any business, but during a crisis, resilience is key to your recovery. Utility bills make up a large proportion of a business’ overheads, so when it comes to your financial health check, managing your business energy costs is a critical part of this.

Review Your Energy Contracts

A good energy procurement strategy means more than just renewing your gas and electricity contracts at their end dates – it’s always worth reviewing your current contracts to see where you could be paying less.  Are you on the right tariff for your business needs? Have you missed a renewal date, leaving you stuck with a poor value default rate? At Inspired Energy plc, we can perform a free, no-obligation energy assessment to confirm whether your utilities are performing well and unearth any cost-saving opportunities. Plus, we can set up renewal reminders to ensure you avoid those pesky rollover rates!

Be mindful of consumption

Did you leave the lights on over closure? If you did, chances are that this will have gone unnoticed, but it will have undoubtedly cost you money. Improve the way you use energy with a business smart meter, which can help you to monitor and reduce your energy consumption – after all you can’t manage what you can’t measure. We work with suppliers who offer free smart meters and can arrange this on your behalf.

Take advantage of current market lows

Energy prices fluctuate daily and can be affected by a whole host of factors, including demand, weather conditions and political factors. Due to the current market, wholesale energy costs are extremely low – in fact, prices have only been this low once in the last 10 years, meaning that now is the perfect time for smart business owners to act quickly and secure a better tariff.

To give your business utilities a refresh, get in touch with Inspired Energy plc. Call 01772 689 250, email partnerships@inspiredenergy.co.uk or visit www.inspired-referral.co.uk

Cumbria Tourism, the county’s Destination Management Organisation, has welcomed today’s Government announcements regarding the reopening of the industry, which it says will bring incredible relief for hundreds of Cumbria’s businesses and thousands of employees.

Jim Walker, Chair of the organisation which represents approximately 2,500 member businesses, said: “By 4 July the county’s hospitality sector will have been closed for three and a half months, during the busiest part of the year, with close to £2bn lost from the county’s economy and hundreds of jobs lost with thousands more at risk. Our evidence to government was clear that the difference between 2m and 1m was the difference between operating viably and not and today’s relaxation announcement will make a significant difference to business viability and save local jobs. Cumbria Tourism has stood firm alongside the health professionals and police when this was required to protect the health of local residents and we are now keen for a safe and phased recovery towards some type of normality to begin.”

Gill Haigh, Managing Director added: “I am particularly proud of the sector’s response throughout this pandemic, locking down sometimes large and complex businesses overnight, safeguarding communities, adapting business models where possible to support jobs and provide much needed services to the community, supplying accommodation for Covid-19 key workers, and rigorous planning to develop innovative approaches and collaborating with one another to ensure staff and customer safety combined with enjoyable  and memorable experiences. We await the government guidance which, at long last, will allow them to make the final preparations before reopening a week on Saturday.

 “Now, at long, long last, we look forward to warmly welcoming back our visitors and working with them to ensure they take additional measures themselves, alongside businesses, to be guaranteed safe and enjoyable experiences. This will include planning ahead, booking in advance, thinking about where to visit and when, paying by contactless, washing hands regularly, keeping to the social distancing guidelines. We also welcome the new national visitor reassurance accreditation scheme which Cumbria Tourism has championed and as Destination Management Organisation for the county, have been tasked by Visit England, to help roll out throughout Cumbria.

 “Inevitably we don’t expect is a sudden return to normal, it will be phased. Our visitor research tells us that only about half feel confident to return immediately. That’s why Cumbria Tourism’s Recovery Campaign – ‘The Perfect Place’ – encourages us all to do what we can to support our tourism sector, to think about planning our holidays at home this year, when the time is right; to invite our friends and families to reconnect, to recharge and to rediscover what’s on our doorstep; to reinvigorate by trying new experiences and explore more; as well as to continue our lockdown passion for buying local food, drink and crafts.

 “We are very lucky to have a large rural location with many off the beaten track areas which makes social distancing easier. We are the perfect place to recharge, reconnect, reflect and rediscover. And with less than half of the main season left, and with stringent safety measures in place, it is important now that we  get behind our businesses, support local jobs, and back the industry that underpins many of our communities and ways of life too.”

 

Due to be held virtually for the first time in its 36 year history, this year’s Lakeland Book of the Year Awards may look different but what hasn’t changed is the staggering breadth and depth of literature inspired by the scenery, history and people of Cumbria and the Lake District.

From fascinating and meticulously researched histories of the area, amazing stories of Lake District characters and top-quality fiction, the Lake District has inspired generations of writers since the time of Wordsworth. 200 years after the birth of this Lakeland icon, the competition recognises the effort of these authors each year, celebrating and highlighting their output over the previous 12 months.

The 60 entries, all published in 2019, have now been whittled down to a shortlist of just 18. Now all that remains is the unveiling of the six category winners, with one then being crowned the overall book of the year 2020.

Due to Coronavirus restrictions the 2020 winners will be announced virtually, with judges Hunter Davies OBE, Cumbria Tourism President Eric Robson and broadcaster Fiona Armstrong coming together through the power of the internet to discuss this year’s entries before crowning one book with the overall title of Book of the Year 2020.

Hunter Davies, awards founder and judge says “Lockdown with Lakeland Books, this is your big chance, hurry hurry. Find out which books are on the short lists and which are the winners of the 2020 Lakeland Book of the Year Awards.”

Cumbria Tourism MD Gill Haigh added “Whilst the Coronavirus pandemic has affected every aspect of society it’s fantastic to see such the Cumbrian institution that is the Lakeland Book of the Year adapting to these difficult times, and I’d like to warmly thank all the sponsors who continue to make it possible through these difficult times. The annual ceremony is a highlight of the county’s calendar and whilst it is of course a shame not to celebrate the authors in person, moving the ceremony online means that we can bring together Lake District and literature lovers from across the globe later this month.

“I’m glad I don’t have the difficult task of choosing this year’s winner, every book on this year’s shortlist explores a different part of Cumbria. Anyone who reads one of these finalists will be inspired to visit our county for themselves once it is safe to do so.”

 

The 2020 shortlist is:

The Striding Edge Prize for Guides and Places

Bob’s Jottings by Bob Jopling

Grasmere: A History in 55 ½ Buildings by Grasmere History Society

Knockupworth – The Story of a Family by John Bainbridge

 

The Bill Rollinson Prize for Landscape and Tradition

Hows and Knotts: A Guide to Lakeland Views by Guy Richardson

I Hate the Lake District by Charlie Gere

Lake District Bouldering by Greg Chapman

 

The Latitude Press Prize for Illustration and Presentation

Cumbria at War by Ruth Mansergh

Embellish with Relish by Maria Whitehead

The Lake District in 101 Maps & Infographics by David Felton

 

The Bookends Prize for Literature and Poetry

A Peopled Landscape by Stephen Matthews

The Cumberland Bard: Robert Anderson by Sue Allan

The Magpie’s Nest by Taffy Thomas

 

People & Business

Slightly Perfect by John Cunliffe

A Pennington Pepys (Extracts from The Commonplace & Diaries of William Fleming) by John Graeme Livingstone

My Dad’s Army: The White Gurkhas by Ian Wilson

 

Fiction

Out of the Deep by Ruth Sutton

Secrets of the Flock by J.B. Browne

Two Days in May by David Clemson

 

The awards, one of the most prestigious of their kind outside London, are kindly supported by the Cumbria Community Foundation Hunter Davies Fund, Striding Edge, Bookends, the Bill Rollinson Award Association and Latitude Press Ltd.

Literature lovers will be able to tune into watch the announcement on the 30th June at 2pm by visiting www.lakelandbookoftheyear.co.uk on 30 June, with the news shared by @lakesbookawards on Twitter and Cumbria Tourism’s Facebook page.

While Cumbria Tourism continues to support hundreds of tourism businesses as they prepare to re-open, it has conducted a national survey sponsored by The Cumberland Building Society to better understand visitor attitudes towards the county.

Forming a vital part of the organisation’s research into consumers’ future travel habits, questions ranged from the kind of measures visitors would like to see in-place during their trip, to the areas they would feel most at ease.

While confidence in the county as a visitor destination remains high with 83% considering Cumbria to be a safe place to visit, 44% of respondents said that while they do plan to visit in the future, they are going to wait a little longer before making any decisions.

The survey results show that visitors want to embrace responsible tourism, with 98% expecting to witness regular cleaning in operation, while 96% would like easy access to hand sanitiser stations. A further 92% would take comfort in seeing social distancing signage and rules, with overwhelming support for limits on visitor numbers and reserving places in advance at attractions. 78% of respondents also say they would be confident about visiting businesses which have signed up to a national accreditation scheme, to demonstrate their commitment to good hygiene and public safety measures.

Businesses are 100% committed continuing to work very hard behind the scenes to welcome visitors back, after the government set 4 July as the target date to begin reopening the hospitality, tourism and leisure sectors – carefully considering the best way to put people’s safety at the heart of their rigorous assessments and plans. Restaurants, for example, will see changes made in kitchens to ensure chefs remain two metres apart, while accommodation providers are factoring in social distancing, enhanced cleaning regimes and contactless check-in and check-out procedures.

The survey also found more than 90% of respondents would feel safe visiting outdoor places like parks, gardens and villages in the coming weeks. To that end, businesses whose offer includes open green spaces are also taking steps to ensure they can open safely. Visitors too, will need to think differently. Planning visits in advance, checking and booking ahead, and thinking about travel arrangements as well as eating and drinking must all be considered.

The survey also found the appetite for visits to less well-known and quieter parts of Cumbria has increased. There is encouraging news for the hospitality trade too, with 70% saying they would feel safe in hotels, guesthouses and B&B accommodation, as well as at visitor attractions with both indoor and outdoor facilities.

Over the next 12 months around 50% said they expect to take more day trips and overnight stays in the UK than usual. A further 54% said they expect to take fewer trips abroad, switching to a domestic break instead.

The research was carried-out primarily via Cumbria Tourism’s visitor database and social media channels, with a combined reach of hundreds of thousands of people.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “This is all about safety for everyone, from our visitors to residents, staff and wider communities. When you consider what the country has been through over the last 12 weeks, it is clear that The Lake District, Cumbria is viewed as a perfect place to recharge and reconnect with loved-ones. Confidence in Cumbria’s responsible approach to tourism will continue, with the health and safety of our residents, visitors and workers absolutely paramount.

“These findings will prove very valuable to help meet the expectations of our visitors. We would like to thank the thousands of people who responded, all of whom have played a really important role in our ongoing work to help businesses recover from a very difficult start to the year. We can now use this information to inform local businesses of the best-practices they can adopt to meet the evolving needs of their visitors, as well being very useful to help businesses inform their own marketing campaigns.”

The survey was sponsored by The Cumberland Building Society, whose Senior Business Lending Manager Grant Seaton says: “We are delighted that we have been able to support such a worthwhile and insightful survey which will help hospitality businesses to plan their reopening and offer the best possible experience to visitors.  It is really encouraging to see that the results show that people do wish to return and that they are making considered decisions with everybody’s wellbeing in mind.  It’s positive news for businesses, the communities they are based in and also for all of the visitors who want to enjoy Cumbria again.”

Cumbria Tourism and local MP Tim Farron have launched a petition which urges the Government to provide a package of financial support for the industry to help it through the rest of 2020 and into the Spring of next year.

The campaign hopes to attract support from MPs and Tourist Boards across the country in the coming weeks.

Tim Farron MP said: “We all know how important hospitality and tourism is to our local economy here in Cumbria and just how devastating a blow this crisis has dealt to our local pubs, hotels, cafes and restaurants. Having lost most of the 2020 season, these businesses are now facing three winters in a row.

“I’m proud to be joining forces with Cumbria Tourism to launch our petition for the Government to provide a package of financial support to help tourism and hospitality all the way until it is able to stand on its two feet again next Spring.”

Gill Haigh, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism said: “Businesses have already lost more than half the year’s income. At the moment the majority are preparing to reopen in early July, subject to government confirmation, but whilst they are eager to welcome visitors back though, the average opening capacities of around 60%, based on social distancing measures, plus the additional costs to ensure visitor and staff safety, will mean that for many businesses it will be difficult for them to remain viable.

“The furlough scheme and other support packages have been a lifeline to most businesses but with the furlough scheme due to close at the end of October and the long fallow winter months ahead businesses are worried sick about how they are going to survive. If tourism businesses fail the implications ricochet countywide, with knock on implications for suppliers and those other businesses who benefit from the industry, as well as the many services and amenities for our communities. This is why it is absolutely crucial that a clear package of financial support for the sector that will underpin them through the winter is not just forthcoming but confirmed as soon as possible to give the reassurance and confidence that is desperately needed and to safeguard jobs and such a major part of the county’s economy”

Jennifer Cormack, Sales and Marketing Director of Windermere Lake Cruises, said: “We welcome Tim’s help in making calls for more financial assistance at the highest level, further strengthening calls being made by Cumbria Tourism on behalf of thousands of its member businesses, including ours.

“Recovery from the effects of Covid-19 is very much a county-wide, team-effort and we recognise that any suffering experienced by any businesses has far-reaching knock-on effects. New packages of support would be a literal lifeline for countless individual businesses, not to mention other businesses which benefit from the presence of a strong visitor economy, including vital community services. We urge people who live both in and outside of Cumbria to help us get our economy back on the right track by adding their name to the petition.”

Mike Turner, Managing Director of Treetop Trek said: “Many tourist businesses like ours have already lost 40% of their annual sales during the forced closure period and are facing another 30% drop during the rest of summer with social distancing restrictions.

“The government support to date has been hugely helpful in the short term but without support during the winter many businesses and associated jobs will simply not survive.”

Liz Moss, Chief Operating Office of Lakeland Arts said: “Support for the cultural sector is absolutely critical – for many cultural organisations (cinema’s, theatres, museums etc) they were the first to be closed to the public as a result of Covid 19.

“Having lost around 41% of this years’ visiting trade already this year through closed doors, it is essential that we are able to make up lost ground over the remaining summer months and extending this into autumn and winter – without visitor spend and earned income we will not make it through the traditionally quiet winter months. We need help with extending the season and support for employee costs  right the way through to next March to enable venues like Blackwell and Windermere Jetty to survive.”  

Dan Visser, Director of Sales and Marketing at Langdale Hotel & Spa, said: “Our industry is facing unprecedented challenges and the timing of the COVID crisis could not have been worse for destinations with a seasonal pattern of demand.

“The government support so far has been very welcome with many jobs saved and businesses supported through the most difficult times they have ever faced. Without the support carrying on into the winter many more jobs will be lost and the effect on a region with few services in place to support the people and families affected.”

The petition is available to sign on both Cumbria Tourism and Tim Farron’s websites – https://www.cumbriatourism.org/petition and https://www.southlakeslibdems.org.uk/

 

As ‘non-essential’ shops begin to re-open this week, one of Cumbria Tourism’s Strategic Partners, The Grasmere Gingerbread Shop, reveals how customer demand drove, guided and inspired the 166-year-old business during the Covid-19 lockdown – and provides an excellent example of how shops will begin to move forward in the coming weeks.

Closing the shop to the public for the first time since Sarah Nelson invented Grasmere Gingerbread® in 1854 was an emotional moment for Joanne Hunter, co-director of the historic business. “Even during two world wars our famous green door remained open,” she reflects. “But closing for Covid-19 was not only a legal requirement but a moral imperative as people’s health must always be prioritised over the bottom line.”

Yet, when the ovens were switched off, Joanne momentarily feared how she – and the world-famous Cumbrian business – would endure lockdown. She need not have worried. “Not only did we immediately see an upsurge in mail order, but people were emailing and telephoning us from first thing in the morning to 10 o’clock at night,” she reveals.

Self-isolating at home, Joanne’s private office became a frenetic hub of activity. From it she wrote weekly e-newsletters, organised more than 200 parcels of complimentary Grasmere Gingerbread® to be sent to frontline NHS staff and carers, engaged other small Cumbrian suppliers by promoting their products online and even enjoyed chatting to celebrities sending Grasmere Gingerbread® to their friends.

Moreover, lockdown reinforced the personal nature of the business. “Many older customers telephone in their orders,” says Joanne. “So we listened to their lockdown traumas and tried to offset any loneliness by having old-fashioned conversations. It’s not all about money. Equally, people – many from different countries – have enjoyed reminiscing about holidays in the Lake District. Ordering Grasmere Gingerbread® has helped them to relive happier times.”

Surviving Storm Desmond in 2015, which destroyed the A591 and partially isolated Grasmere for six months, was a learning experience. “Then, I put my head in my hands and often my thoughts would go around in circles,” she admits. “But whilst I was anxious about Covid-19, I prepared myself professionally and personally for what I knew was coming down the line. By being proactive I didn’t have much time to think negatively about the future.”

Meanwhile, in addition to handling staff furloughing, administration and bills, co-director Andrew Hunter anticipated and prepared for a ‘soft’ opening of the shop. He created a socially-distanced and sympathetically designed entry and exit route, instituted a new health & hygiene regime for staff, as well as providing PPE and plastic shielding at the shop counter itself. Initially, payment will be by card only although Andrew does not welcome a cashless society, concerned it may marginalise many people.

“At the shop it will be one customer in, one customer out, although ‘customer’ could be a family unit,” he explains. “I would never underplay how serious this pandemic is, but we are social animals and our instinct is to get back to some sort of communal ‘normality’, even if ‘that normality’ is different to before.”

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “Lockdown has brought with it many shifts in behaviours and attitudes including a greater appreciation of locally produced food. Grasmere Gingerbread is a great example of the resilience of Cumbrian businesses, and the measures it is putting in place to ensure a safe, enjoyable shopping experience is great to hear. The example shown by Joanne, Andrew and the team, is an inspiration to us all and shows that by working together, we can get Cumbria’s economy great again.”

More than a week-on from encouraging signals made by the prime minister, Cumbria Tourism is increasing its lobbying for the government to provide vital financial support for the county’s hospitality and tourism businesses to help them survive the coming winter.

A recent survey among the organisation’s 2,500 member businesses has found that whilst 78% are confident they will be able to survive the next three months, this falls to just under 50% when looking ahead over the next six months and plummets to just one third of businesses feeling confident of surviving the next two years.

Whilst most businesses are expecting to be able to open in some form from early July onwards, necessary social distancing restrictions and other Covid-19 considerations will mean the vast majority of businesses will have to reduce the number of visitors they can welcome and meet increased costs. For the summer months at least the current government support package offers some comfort but it is the uncertainty of what happens beyond October which is clearly a massive worry to businesses and of course the impact that might have on their ability to retain their staff long term.

Cumbria Tourism welcomed the announcement last week by Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the Government were looking at packages to help the tourism industry over the winter period, but as yet the detail of what the support will look like has not been made available.

Cumbria Tourism says its survey results reflect just how key it is to provide that business clarity reassurance now and is calling on the Government to do so quickly.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “At the moment, around a third of businesses expect to fully reopen in early July, while others will partially reopen. While they are eager to welcome visitors back though, the average opening capacities of around 60%, based on the current two-metre social distancing ruling, will mean that for many businesses it will be difficult for them to make a profit. This is why it is absolutely crucial that financial support for the sector is forthcoming. Our survey also found that increased costs are a major worry for three quarters of businesses, with a fifth expecting to make redundancies or reduce staff wages.”

Lake District Hotel Association Chair, Cumbria Tourism member and General Manager of the Castle Green Hotel in Kendal Ben Mayou, says, “Our member hotels and attractions are working hard to reopen and capture at least some of the summer season. The introduction of flexible furlough is on face value a positive step but with the requirement for employers to contribute to this over the coming months we are already starting to see redundancies.

“It is essential that the government comes forward without delay to share their plans to support tourism businesses over the winter period and avoid further job losses. Owners need information and guidance as a matter of urgency to formulate battle plans to have any chance of surviving into 2021”

Gill Haigh continues, “It’s also important to recognise the impact that losing businesses from the hospitality sector will have on other businesses which benefit from tourism. It’s not just tourism operators who will lose-out if businesses fail, but this will affect the whole community and other businesses on a wider scale due to secondary spend dropping. This is clearly unsustainable, and we need to know more about the government’s plans as soon as possible which is why we’re applying more pressure than ever, on behalf of our members.”

An example of such a business is Theatre by the Lake in Keswick, who recently announced significant redundancies and the cancellation of their winter programme to ensure the producing house is able to reopen in 2021.  The venue has to generate 80% of its revenue from earned income, receiving just 20% from public subsidy and as such has been severely affected by the closure and lost income.

Liz Stevenson, Artistic Director and James Cobbold, Executive Director said, “We have added our voice to our industry’s calls on Government to consider specific support for theatres.  We must see further investment quickly and, like the hospitality industry, further clarity from the Government”.

Theatre by the Lake is a producing house of national importance, is one of the largest employers in Keswick and contributes significantly to the cultural offer of the region in attracting visitors, as well as serving its community of residents

As tourism businesses across Cumbria continue to navigate their way through the Covid-19 pandemic, one of Cumbria Tourism’s Strategic Partners is looking further into the future, highlighting how students on its industry-related apprenticeship courses could play a role in the recovery efforts in the months and years to come.

The University of Cumbria offers a flexible chartered manager degree apprenticeship in the visitor economy, the importance of which has taken on new meaning in 2020 since the effects of Coronavirus slashed the value of Cumbria’s tourism economy by an unprecedented 50%.

Principal Lecturer in Tourism Management, Dr Angela Anthonisz, says, “Degree apprenticeships such as this one will become vitally important as we slowly emerge from the devastating effects of the pandemic and interest has been high amongst people in hospitality supervisory roles across the region, particularly those looking to use this time to upskill and add value to their CV.

“We are working with hotels, pubs, campsites, visitor attractions and service providers across the region, with a fantastic team of industry trained professionals, not just academics, and we have also recently added Ruth Paisley to our team, who has joined us from the Marriott Hotel Group. We have been developing new postgraduate programmes for education and industry focused on management in the visitor economy, as well as working closely with the Centre for National Parks and Protected Areas.”

Apprenticeships allow students to combine on-the-job training whilst studying for a qualification and the University of Cumbria offers a wide range of higher-level apprenticeships across health, policing, business and tourism and the visitor economy.

Dr Anthonisz continues, “In Cumbria and the broader region, even before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, there has been significant higher-level skills needs and lower than national average productivity levels to address. Of the 56,000 jobs which need to be filled by 2021, around 27,500 are expected to be at Level 4 – that’s a higher apprenticeship or NVQ, or above. Currently the county only has 28% of its working-age population qualified to this level. Looking ahead as the recovery from Covid-19’s effects continues, the university is keen to support growth across key areas and put a strong focus on addressing regional sector needs like in Cumbria, where tourism is the lifeblood of the county’s economy.”

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “When it comes to degree level apprenticeships of this kind, there’s really no better place for people to earn while they learn than here in Cumbria.

“With its Ambleside campus in the heart of The Lake District, we are really fortunate to have a university which understands the value of tourism to the county and its decision to launch these opportunities before Covid-19 struck, has turned-out to be a brilliantly useful move.

“Working closely with Cumbria Tourism and also the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, the university has a clear strategic focus to support its Skills Investment Plan, delivering a mix of provision designed to serve the region’s needs and meet the challenges which hundreds of local businesses face here, as well as countless more further afield”.

Further information is online, at www.cumbria.ac.uk/tourism/ or by calling Dr Anthonisz on 07484 673733.