A group of international media with a combined audience of more than 6.5million people have been visiting Cumbria this week, thanks to a trip arranged by Cumbria Tourism and VisitBritain.

The five-day visit included journalists and social media influencers from across the globe, including the USA, China, Australia, Russia, South Korea, the Netherlands, Italy and Norway.

It was all arranged to celebrate the 70th anniversary of National Parks, with the visitors experiencing a wide range of Cumbrian attractions and internationally branded experiences here in Cumbria before moving on to the Peak District.

Almost 20 tourism businesses spanning the Eden Valley, Keswick and Borrowdale, and South and Central Lakes helped to host the visitors on their whistle-stop tour to give them a taste of the Cumbrian welcome on offer for international visitors.

The group also took in key locations such as Castlerigg Stone Circle, the Ullswater Way and Wordsworth’s Grasmere, as well as sampling a variety of authentic local produce along the way.

At the same time, Saudi TV presenter and social media influencer Ali Al Meshaal was also exploring Cumbria this week to create inspirational social media and video content in a second complementary trip also arranged by VisitBritain and Cumbria Tourism.

Cumbria Tourism’s PR & Communications Manager, Heather Sewell, says, “Our day-to-day work with VisitBritain to develop relationships with influential media is a vital part of what we do. Showcasing the very best of what the county has to offer to journalists and influencers means we can promote positive messages about the Lake District, Cumbria, out to even wider audiences and highlight the wide variety of attractions and experiences we can offer. This group included some prestigious travel writers and it was fantastic to welcome them here to see the region first-hand.” 

Targeting both established and new international markets is very important for us as a business,” says Tracey Cragg from Lakeside Hotel & Spa. “We are thrilled to host this group. In competitive times, it is so important that we work together as an industry to keep raising the profile of the Lake District overseas and showcase the very best of what our area has to offer to overseas visitors.”

Jim Lowther – owner of Lowther Castle – also helped host the visit and gave the group a personal tour of the Castle and Gardens. He says, “It was lovely to see such enthusiasm for Lowther and for the Lake District World Heritage Site as a whole. A great visit and many thanks to VisitBritain and especially to Cumbria Tourism for putting it together.”

Almost four hundred guests gathered at Cartmel Racecourse last night, Wednesday 19 June, to congratulate the winners of Cumbria’s annual tourism ‘Oscars’.

A team of experts whittled down a record-breaking number of entries for the Cumbria Tourism Awards to 47 finalists for the final ceremony, held in association with United Utilities.

The event celebrated the very best of the county’s vibrant £3billion tourism industry and was hosted by comedian, writer and musician Mike Wilkinson.  Among the sixteen awards were two brand new categories: a Makers & Producers Award and an Accessible & Inclusive Tourism Award.

The Cumbria Tourism Awards 2019 winners were:

 

Accessible & Inclusive Tourism Award Sponsored by Expedia

Lake District Calvert Trust, Keswick WINNER)

Treetop Trek, Windermere (HIGHLY COMMENDED)

 

Camping, Glamping & Holiday Park of the Year – Sponsored by Natwest Commercial Banking

Castlerigg Hall Caravan, Camping and Glamping Park, Keswick (WINNER)

 

Ethical, Responsible & Sustainable Tourism Award Sponsored by University of Cumbria

The Quiet Site, Ullswater (WINNER)

 

B&B & Guest House of the Year Sponsored by Lamont Pridmore

Haven Cottage, Ambleside (WINNER)

 

Experience of the Year Award Sponsored by Carlisle Lake District Airport

CBA Events @ Graythwaite (WINNER)

 

Large Hotel of the Year – Sponsored by Christie & Co.

Another Place, The Lake, Ullswater (WINNER)

 

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year Sponsored by H&H Reeds

Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway (WINNER)

 

New Tourism Business Award Sponsored by Thomson Hayton Winkley

The Black Bull, Sedbergh (WINNER)

1692 Wasdale, Gosforth (HIGHLY COMMENDED)

 

Makers & Producers Award

Grasmere Gingerbread®, Grasmere (WINNER)

 

Pub of the Year  

The Black Swan, Ravenstonedale (WINNER)

 

Self-Catering Accommodation of the Year Sponsored by Out of Eden

The Lingholm Estate, Portinscale (WINNER)

 

Small Hotel of the Year Sponsored by Colliers International

The Regent Hotel, Ambleside (WINNER)

 

Taste of Cumbria Award – Sponsored by The Cumberland for Business

1863 Restaurant and Rooms, Pooley Bridge (WINNER)

 

Small Visitor Attraction of the Year Sponsored by Northern

Wordsworth House and Garden, Cockermouth (WINNER)

 

Wedding Venue of the Year

Cragwood Country House Hotel, Windermere (WINNER)

 

The Sheila Hensman Award for Outstanding Contribution to Excellence

Jake Winter, Lyzzick Hall Hotel, Keswick (WINNER)

 

Many of the winners now also have the opportunity represent the county nationally at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence in 2020.

The evening was rounded off with an additional honour for Stephen Broughton, who is this year’s recipient of the ‘Bernard Gooch Tourism Personality of the Year Award

 Involved in Mountain Goat since the 1990s, Stephen later bought the company and became its Managing Director.  He and Sir Norman Stoller later bought Lindeth Howe hotel. Stephen has also been involved with the Japan Forum, Cumbria Tourism and the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, working tirelessly for the area throughout the UK and flying the flag for the county in Japan, China and the USA.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “Our world-class landscape and cultural heritage is world renowned, proudly matched by world class product.  Last year the county’s tourism industry contributed a staggering £3billion to the county’s economy and supported around 65,000 jobs – that’s around 20% of the county’s total employment.

 “Not only that, but the industry also provides an incredible offer for our visitors – both national and international – and contributes significantly to what makes it an incredible place for us and others to live, work, study and invest in. Last night was a showcase and celebration of not just the best of Cumbria but easily some of the best the nation has to offer.

“With a record-breaking number of entries, competition for this year’s Cumbria Tourism Awards has been immense and the quality utterly jaw dropping.  Our thriving tourism businesses have again showed the sheer range, quality and innovation on offer in the county and this event reinforces the hard work and dedication shown by tourism businesses who deliver world class experiences to millions of visitors day in, day out. We should be tremendously proud of not only our award-winners, but of all of the finalists!”

Cumbria Tourism and the industry is fortunate to have a wide range of supporters and would particularly like to thank all of its generous sponsors for making the event possible.

They include headline sponsor United Utilities, as well as the category sponsors, including:  Carlisle Lake District Airport, Christie & Co, Colliers International, The Cumberland for Business, Expedia, Lamont Pridmore, NatWest Commercial Banking, Northern, Out of Eden, University of Cumbria, H&H Reeds, and Thomson Hayton Winkley, plus supporters Booths, Cartmel Racecourse, Campbell and Rowley Corporate Catering, Colourmedia, Heineken, Ambience Venue Styling, CBEN and EWGA Wines.

A newly launched ‘English Lake District India Forum’ to help Cumbrian tourism businesses make the most of the UK’s growing appeal to overseas visitors has been welcoming the CEOs of some of India’s top travel agencies to the county.

The new Forum has been set up by Cumbria Tourism to bring together businesses targeting international visitors from the fast-growing Indian market.

This week’s high-level visit (Tuesday 18 and Wednesday 19 June) coincides not only with the launch of the Forum, but also celebrates the ICC Cricket World Cup in England and Wales, which is a massive draw for Indian sports fans.

The group includes Chief Executives and Managing Directors from leading travel agencies like Cox & Kings India and KFT Holidays, as well as trade media, airline partner Oman Air and representatives from VisitBritain.

Cumbria Tourism’s renewed India-focus is part of a long-term partnership with Marketing Manchester, who hosted the group for the India Vs Pakistan match at Old Trafford on Sunday, before they headed to Cumbria to explore the wider North West region.

The delegates have been travelling through South and Central Lakes to the Eden Valley to experience key visitor attractions including Gilpin Spice; Windermere Jetty, Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories; Windermere Lake Cruises; Lake District Country Hotels; Mountain Goat; Grasmere Gingerbread and Lowther Castle.

A cricket-themed drinks reception at Storrs Hall also celebrated the Cricket World Cup, including a helping hand from Millom Cricket Club and their Sri Lankan professional, Sameera Sadamal.

A second Indian delegation will travel to Cumbria next Monday 24 June, just ahead of the India Vs West Indies cricket match in Manchester. It will bring India Forum members together with key Indian Destination Management Companies which offer services including tours, travel packages and airport transfers. The aim is to help increase their knowledge of the country outside London and put Cumbria at the centre of their planning decisions for the coming year.

The new India Forum is the culmination of work Cumbria Tourism has been doing with Marketing Manchester in recent months, to help promote the Indian sub-continent and meet with Indian tour operators and travel agents face-to-face.

Cumbria Tourism’s Managing Director Gill Haigh says, “Cumbria has a compelling message for Indian visitors, who are renowned for their love of culture, heritage and the natural landscape. Businesses joining the India Forum will help forge even stronger links with overseas trade contacts and take an active role in encouraging more leisure visitors from the world’s fastest growing economy.

 “Working with Marketing Manchester is also essential, as we join together to unlock new opportunities and promote the wider North West to potential visitors from the Indian sub-continent.”

Sheona Southern, Managing Director of Marketing Manchester says: “India is an incredibly important market in Greater Manchester’s international growth ambitions. The subcontinent is a significant region of growth; responsible for nearly 17million outbound visits a year, with Indian visitors to the UK spending more than £400m in the UK annually.

“As such, it is vital that we work with our partners in the north to make the most of the opportunity that the Indian market presents, and we look forward to further collaboration with Cumbria Tourism’s new India Forum over the coming months and years to do exactly that.”

12 Cumbrian tourism business have already signed up form a Steering Group for the new India forum, including:

  • Dove Cottage & The Wordsworth Trust
  • Gilpin Hotel & Lake House
  • Grasmere Gingerbread
  • Mountain Goat
  • Muncaster Castle
  • Lake District Country Hotels
  • Lake District Estates
  • Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway
  • Storrs Hall
  • The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction
  • Treetop Trek and Treetop Nets
  • Windermere Lake Cruises

Businesses interested in joining the Forum can contact campaigns@cumbriatourism.org for more information.

Two top tourism officials will meet with businesses at Cumbria Tourism’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Thursday 27 June, to share the Government’s perspective on the opportunities and challenges facing the county’s £3billion tourism industry.

Businesses gathered at Penrith’s Roundthorn Country House Hotel will hear ‘the view from Government’, with both David Martin (Head of Tourism Strategy and Sponsorship at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport) and Tim Jenkins (Policy and Public Affairs Manager at VisitBritain) as headline speakers.

Among the issues under the spotlight will be the Government’s plans for a Tourism Sector Deal and how this relates to Cumbria. The challenges of staff recruitment and skills, Brexit and infrastructure are likely to feature, alongside opportunities to grow productivity and the potential support available for rural tourism businesses.

With up-to-date analysis on the performance and growing economic value of the county’s tourism industry, as well as news on Cumbria Tourism’s national and international marketing and PR work, it is a jam-packed agenda. More than 120 businesses and representatives are expected at the event, which will also see the appointment of three new Non-Executive Directors for Cumbria’s official Destination Management Organisation.

And with just one week before the official launch of Carlisle Lake District Airport on 4 July, Stobart Group’s Kate Willard will reveal the latest on the first scheduled passenger flights for more than 25 years. The speaker-line up is rounded off with an update from Cumbria Tourism patron, United Utilities.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “Our latest research reveals the massive £3billion contribution tourism makes to our county and we’re delighted to be welcoming a great selection of high-level speakers to our AGM, who can update and inspire local businesses on the important issues facing our growing industry.

 “We are proud to be working at both a regional and national level to champion Cumbria’s tourism sector and we know that the latest insights from VisitBritain and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport will be invaluable to local businesses who want to continue growing and innovating for the future.

 “It is great to know that the Government recognises the value of rural tourism, although it’s also vital that we work together to take full advantage of the opportunities and tackle the challenges tourism businesses face on a day-to-day level.”

The day will finish with a ‘Question and Answer’ session for Cumbria Tourism’s member businesses.

Background and Context

Cumbria Tourism Executive Board (CTEB) has responded to and encouraged all members to review and respond to the second stage consultation of the Lake District National Park’s Review of its Local Plan. CTEB saw this as a critical opportunity for the tourism industry to help shape and develop a vibrant and sustainable Lake District for all.

Cumbria Tourism based its responses on its research findings, Tourism Strategy, CLEP Visitor Economy Growth Plan and emerging Cumbria Local Industrial Strategy, all of which recognise the importance of the Visitor Economy to support economic growth.

Cumbria Tourism research recognises that the Lake District faces significant challenges, including:

  • the need for better communications connectivity;
  • the need for skills development;
  • the limited labour supply;
  • the shortage of affordable homes;
  • an ageing workforce;
  • the potential post Brexit squeeze on replacing EU workers;
  • the challenges of accessibility and travel to work.

Response to the Revised Local Plan Consultation

We are grateful many of the points made to the first consultation have been taken into consideration and in responding to the revised version CTEB reiterates the success story of national and international significance that our tourism offer is. It is the biggest employer in the National Park and biggest contributor to the economy, generating over £1.4 billion of visitor expenditure every year supporting approximately 19k fte jobs. It also contributes heavily to what makes this a fantastic place to live and work, as well as visit.

Vision and Objectives

The strategic vision for the Lake District is that, by 2030, it will be an inspirational example of sustainable development in action. Overall, CTEB is supportive of the vision and objectives of the Draft LPR but is keen to ensure that the policies recognise the importance of and help facilitate the visitor economy to achieve economic growth and the prosperity and other benefits this brings to the county as a whole.

 

The key areas of the response focussed on:

  • Housing and Jobs
  • Sustainable Transport and Parking
  • Showcase Areas and Local Developer Contributions

Award-winning Cumbrian accountancy firm, Lamont Pridmore, is calling on businesses to seek advice if they have any questions regarding the new digital tax regime.

Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT was launched in April 2019 and thousands of VAT-registered businesses above the VAT threshold (£85,000) across the region are now recording and reporting their affairs digitally to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

With many facing their first reporting date in the coming months, the firm said that nationally there had been issues identified with confusion surrounding registration for MTD, which left them concerned about local businesses.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has warned businesses across the UK that the registration process for Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT takes seven working days.

This means that VAT-registered businesses need to register more than seven days before submitting their first return if they want to pay their tax bill by direct debit.  Registering involves setting up a Government Gateway user ID and ensuring compatible software is in place.

Graham Lamont, Chief Executive at Lamont Pridmore, said: “Businesses are currently benefiting from a ‘soft landing period’, which will last up to a year, to get MTD for VAT in place and be reporting their affairs accurately to HMRC without facing a penalty.

“However, many aren’t aware that they must register for the scheme in order to use it and have everything in place by their first reporting date. While we have seen many businesses take some of these steps, we are worried that many more might not be fully prepared for this new tax regime.”

Graham said that looking ahead MTD would likely affect more businesses as the Government looks to extend the system to other forms of tax by April 2021 at the earliest.

This new process will require a far larger number of businesses, including those which may be individually below the VAT threshold, to report their affairs digitally on a quarterly basis, this includes sole traders with income from one or more business, as well as income from letting UK property.

Chris Lamont, a Partner at Lamont Pridmore, added: “HMRC is currently in the process of testing and releasing information on software and the options for Income Tax and Corporation Tax, so businesses outside of the net of the current regulations should also start becoming aware of what their future obligations may be.”

To find out how Lamont Pridmore can help you and your business with MTD, please www.lamontpridmore.co.uk, call 0800 234 6978 or email info@lamontpridmore.co.uk

Latest figures reveal that Cumbria’s tourism sector generated £3billion for the county’s economy last year and supported 65,000 jobs – 20% of the county’s total employment.

The statistics come from the Scarborough Tourism Economic Activity Monitor, commonly known as ‘STEAM’. The annual assessment has taken place for the past 20 years and is produced on behalf of a partnership led by Cumbria Tourism and supported by Cumbria’s District Councils, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the Lake District National Park Authority

The latest STEAM analysis concentrates on Cumbria’s overall tourism performance for 2018 and reveals an overall 3.7% increase in the value of tourism compared to the previous year. The biggest increases in value were in Eden (+8.6%), South Lakeland (+5.6%), Barrow (+4.2%) and Copeland (+4.1%).

South Lakeland district accounts for the greatest share of £3billion tourism revenue at 44%, followed by Carlisle with 18% and Allerdale with 16%.

In line with Cumbria Tourism’s long-term strategy, the county also saw an increase in overnight stays in 2018, with an extra 410,000 bed nights across Cumbria. This supports the increased spend and significantly bucks the national trend.  At the same time, there was a small drop in day visitors to Cumbria of -0.7%.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “This is the sixth year of growth for the value of the county’s tourism industry, and the new £3billion figure underlines the importance of the sector to our economy.  

 “It also demonstrates the success of Cumbria Tourism’s continuing ‘attract and disperse’ policy, which draws on the strength of the Lake District brand to attract staying visitors who also want to discover and explore the wider county. The visitor economy brings a range of benefits to the whole of Cumbria and helps make the county not only a great place to visit, but also a great place to live and work. We believe that by working together there are significant opportunities to further grow the value of tourism.

She adds, “That said, we are conscious that these are testing times for Cumbria’s tourism sector. Our recent Business Performance Survey highlights continued rising costs for tourism businesses, uncertainties around Brexit and reduced consumer spending. As an industry, joined-up investment, co-ordination and partnership working is vital to ensure our world-class destination continues to sustain jobs and bring all year round benefits in the county as a whole.”

Nigel Wilkinson is a Cumbria LEP Board member and Chair of the Visitor Economy Sector Panel. He says, “The latest STEAM data confirms the strength of Cumbria’s tourism offer and Cumbria Tourism and partners success in taking this to the next level. It is really encouraging to see the growth in overnight stays and the results now being delivered by the attract and disperse policy.

 “This strong performance clearly demonstrates Cumbria’s important contribution to the emerging Tourism Sector Deal and puts down a clear marker of our potential to become a national Tourism Action Zone. Cumbria LEP (CLEP) will be working closely with Cumbria Tourism and our visitor economy partners to make Cumbria’s case”.

Cumbria Tourism has launched the latest phase of a £285,000 travel marketing campaign with a high-profile presence at Manchester Airport, London Euston and other key Northern cities including Leeds, Liverpool and Newcastle.

It’s all being timed to coincide with Northern’s new extra 50% discount off selected online advance train tickets, enabling passengers to access hugely-reduced train fares to and from the county.*

For six weeks, big screen advertising promoting Cumbria can be seen at some of the country’s busiest commuter hubs. That includes Manchester Airport and the city’s Piccadilly Gardens, as well as a huge 12 metre wide ‘digi-bridge’ over one of the North West’s busiest commuter routes, the Mancunian Way.

An array of high-impact advertising is being used alongside large screens at public transport hubs in London Euston, Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Piccadilly. This is teamed with digital marketing targeting locations across Lancashire and Cumbria, as well as Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle and London.

The campaign comes in the run-up to the school summer holidays and features new high-impact video and photography showcasing the county, which will also be shown on ITV On Demand, YouTube and a wide range of online social media and regional newspaper platforms.

As the county’s official Destination Management Organisation, Cumbria Tourism is aiming to rebuild visitor confidence in train services and positively inspire potential visitors to the Lake District, Cumbria.

Cumbria Tourism’s Head of Marketing and Sales, Rachel Tyson, says, “We are very excited to unveil this new high-profile campaign, which spans six major UK cities and a wide range of online and print channels. It’s all about dispelling misconceptions about travelling by train and giving visitors practical ideas and inspiration to encourage them to book breaks away in our amazing county.

The £285,000 campaign follows robust and sustained lobbying at government level, with Cumbria Tourism working alongside Cumbria County Council and Transport for the North to secure funding through the rail industry amid disruption to train services over the past 12 months.

Chris Jackson, Regional Director at Northern says, “Cumbria is a fantastic place to visit with a wide range of activities on offer and a breath-taking natural backdrop.

 “Of course, the best way to see this fabulous county is by train and we are making travel even better for our customers in the summer with an extra 50% off our Advance Purchase fares. And, we have recently introduced new services between Cumbria and Manchester Airport, so it is easier than ever to jump on a train and explore all the area has to offer.”

This latest marketing activity comes hot on the heels of the campaign’s first phase, which got underway earlier this Spring, reaching more than 15 million people in six weeks and generating 8,700 click-throughs from online activity.

The finalists for the landmark 35th Lakeland Book of the Year have been unveiled and it’s been yet another fantastic year for Cumbria’s literary heritage.

The longlist for one of the most prestigious literary awards outside London, the Hunter Davies Lakeland Book of the Year, has been released and the competition’s expert judges now have the difficult task of selecting the final shortlist, six category winners and the overall 2019 winner.

Highlighting almost every aspect of the county, including the history of the land and its people, the huge range of poetry it inspires, and the countless outdoor activities available, the longlist of 20 fabulous books has been selected by author, columnist and founder of the competition Hunter Davies OBE, broadcaster, ex-Gardener’s Question Time host and Cumbria Tourism Chairman Eric Robson and BBC newscaster and author Fiona Armstrong.

 

 

The authors will be on tenterhooks until the winners are unveiled at this year’s charity luncheon, held at the Castle Green Hotel, Kendal on Tuesday 16 July. This year’s supported cause is Growing Well, a farm-based mental health charity near Kendal. Following the luncheon, prizes will be awarded by the judges, accompanied by their reviews and entertaining comments regarding this year’s entries.

 

As well as the ultimate accolade of the Hunter Davies Lakeland Book of the Year 2019, the six additional prizes on offer are:

  • The Striding Edge Productions Prize for Guides & Places
  • The Latitude Press Prize for Illustration & Presentation
  • The Zeffirellis Prize for People & Business
  • The Bookends Prize for Arts & Literature
  • The Bill Rollinson Prize for Landscape & Tradition
  • The Gilpin Hotel Group Prize for Poetry & Fiction

 

Tickets for the luncheon are available for £30 and can be purchased from Cumbria Tourism by visiting www.lakelandbookoftheyear.co.uk.

The awards are again this year in partnership with James Cropper PLC, based at Burneside Mills, a fitting association with virtually all the UK’s hard-backed books printed on paper produced in this Cumbrian factory.

The Lakeland Book of the Year is generously supported by the Cumbria Community Foundation and the Hunter Davies Fund, whose support allows the continued celebration of the county’s literary prowess.

 

2019 Lakeland Book of the Year Longlist

(In alphabetical order)

70 Sonnets by Stephen Matthews

Bruffam: Henry, first Lord Brougham & Vaux 1778-1868 by David Crackenthorpe

Climbing Skiddaw: A History and an Anthology by Stephen Matthews

The Corpse Roads of Cumbria by Alan Cleaver & Lesley Park

Dalston: The Story of a Cumberland Parish by David Wilcock

The Debatable Land: The Lost World Between Scotland and England by Graham Robb

Derwentwater: In the Lap of the Gods by Ian Hall

Feather Bed & Shive of Cheese: Names in the Landscape of Finsthwaite, Lakeside, Stott Park & Ealinghearth by Sophia Martin, Pat Jones & Liz Kingston

Gin, Cake & Rucksacks by Beth Pipe & Karen Guttridge

Lakelanders: Stories and Poems about Living in a Lake District Valley by Andrea Meanwell

The Little Book of Cumbria by David Ramshaw

Making Their Mark: Learning to Read and Write in 19th-century Cumberland by Jane Platt

Morph by Jill Clough

Over the Hill at 60 Something by Barry Holmes

The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven

Running the Red Line by Julie Carter

The Stopping Places: A Journey Through Gypsy Britain by Damian Le Bas

This Place I Know: An Anthology of Cumbrian Poetry by Various Contributors

Wordsworth’s Gardens and Flowers: The Spirt of Paradise by Peter Dale & Brandon C. Yen

You Just Can’t Bottle It by Angela Frances Bell