Cumbria Tourism’s latest tourism business survey highlights uncertainty about labour shortages, skills, travel disruption and Brexit, BUT reveals optimism about new opportunities to grow tourism in the county.

As Cumbria’s official Destination Management Organisation, we have been carrying out regular surveys with tourism businesses every six months for more than 20 years.  This research provides a county-wide opportunity to monitor long-term trends and business performance, and analyse factors affecting business in a positive or negative way.  It then helps us to highlight the most significant concerns and challenges with both national and regional policy-makers.

This Autumn, for the first time, Cumbria Tourism’s Business Performance Survey has been carried out in conjunction with one of the North West’s leading firms of accountants, tax and business advisors, Lamont Pridmore.

The results cover this year’s main visitor season – the six-month period from March to September 2018 – as well as looking ahead into 2019. Alongside Brexit, they reveal that travel disruption and staffing were major issues of concern:

  • 40% report that disruption on the railways was damaging for the region.
  • 64% of businesses say they have a problem recruiting staff and almost half also report problems with retaining staff.

Other key findings include:

  • 76% of businesses reported returning customers as a positive factor over the past six months.
  • 73% of tourism businesses will either exceed or match their performance from 2017. However, this is 16% lower than the previous year.
  • 44% reported staycations as a big driver for growth.
  • 58% of businesses think that plans to open up flights from Carlisle Lake District Airport will have a positive effect on tourism
  • Cumbria’s most important overseas markets are: the USA, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands and China.
  • 60% of businesses think Cumbria’s status as a World Heritage Site will have a positive effect.

The survey comes hot on the heels of new government plans to enter into an official negotiation with the tourism industry nationally for a ‘Tourism Sector Deal’, aimed at increasing productivity.  Cumbria Tourism has been lobbying for an official deal for some time and last week hosted VisitBritain colleagues to explore how this could work for Cumbria. The results of the Business Performance Survey will now also enable Cumbria Tourism – along with its partners – to keep the county at the forefront of high-profile discussions as details of the Tourism Sector Deal’ are finalised in 2019.

Gill Haigh, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism says, “This latest research demonstrates that 2018 has been a challenging year for the tourism industry. The significant rail disruption combined with the extreme weather – including the so-called ‘Beast from the East’ followed by the exceedingly hot weather in May and June – have taken their toll, and there is certainly evidence of visitors tightening their spending. At the same time, there have been increased costs for businesses.

 “The survey results also illustrate the significance of staffing and recruitment challenges and increasing concerns regarding the impact of Brexit. This is not completely unexpected, but shows that the visitor economy needs continued support to keep growing in value. The survey results give us the evidence base we need as an organisation to keep up the pressure on funding, support and future strategy at the highest levels and to focus our resources on the issues that matter most.”

Chief Executive of Lamont Pridmore, Graham Lamont, says, “This research is invaluable to ensure Cumbria Tourism can take an evidenced based approach to effecting change for the tourism industry at a national level, as well as developing their own activities to continue the growth of the visitor economy. Understandably, Brexit is causing concern and uncertainty among businesses but they too can use these research findings to inform their own decision making and future plans.  Lamont Pridmore is delighted to support the Business Performance Survey.”

Our comprehensive research function is one of our key activities which setss us apart as a Destination Management Organisation. As well as the Business Performance Survey, other regular analysis carried out by our research team includes monthly occupancy surveys, county-wide visitor surveys, regular analysis of accommodation stock and data collection from visitor attractions.

For more information on our research programme, contact Research Manager, Helen Tate: htate@cumbriatourism.org

We welcome new government plans to enter into an official negotiation with the tourism industry for a ‘Tourism Sector Deal’, aimed at increasing productivity and driving economic growth.

Described as a game-changer, the plans would officially recognise tourism as a globally competitive ‘industry of the future’ and put it at the top of the Government’s national policy agenda.

In Cumbria, tourism supports almost 65,000 jobs and is worth £2.9 billion to the local economy. As the county’s official Destination Management Organisation (DMO), we’ve been been lobbying vigorously for an official deal to tackle a range of key issues specifically affecting our visitor economy, including: skills and labour supply, travel and transport, housing and digital connectivity.

In recent months, this activity has seen Cumbria Tourism liaising closely with high-level influencers at VisitBritain and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, as well as speaking directly to the Tourism Minister Michael Ellis and raising the issues to a House of Lords Select Committee earlier this month.

It is expected that the negotiations just announced by the Government will lead to a final Tourism Sector Deal being announced early next year.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “This is the Government saying they are taking tourism seriously. It is a hugely positive statement of intent and it is now tremendously important that the Tourism Sector Deal moves forward. As the Destination Management Organisation for the Lake District, Cumbria, we will ensure the county is kept at the forefront of discussions in the coming weeks and months, and do all we can to support VisitEngland and VisitBritain to secure this opportunity.

“The Sector Deal focus is about increasing productivity.  This chimes perfectly with Cumbria’s Tourism’s existing strategy to grow the value of tourism through higher-spending international and domestic visitors and to continue marketing the county as an all year round destination, as well as boosting skills and supporting long term careers in hospitality, which are critical for us as a county.”

She adds, “It is essential that we work together as a county – spanning both the private and public sectors – to ensure that we seize this landmark moment.”

A major survey is being launched across The Lake District to gauge opinion on a charitable donation scheme using contactless debit and credit card machines, in addition to the more traditional coin-slot collection boxes.

Along with its partners the Lake District National Park (LDNP) and Cumbria Tourism, the Lake District Foundation (LDF) is asking for views on whether such a system would be beneficial to its fundraising efforts.

The LDF raises money through donations before distributing to projects which care for local landscapes.

The idea is part of the ‘Rethinking Parks’ programme by NESTA, a global innovation foundation which supports new ideas to tackle 21st century challenges.

Sarah Swindley, Director of the LDF, says, “It’s really important that we hear from as many people as possible. We know that people love the Lake District and want to help us look after it. We also know that people are carrying less cash with them and we are keen to understand how new technology can help.”

The proposal is to help people who wish to donate money for local projects to do so – under no pressure; and even if they don’t have any coins on them.

The survey will also ask about people’s donor habits, the kind of projects they’d like to donate to and the kind of messages participants think should feature on the donation points themselves to maximise their intended effect.

Following the survey, the LDF hopes a test scheme may begin in the summer – hopes echoed by the Lake District National Park.

Liam McAleese, Head of Strategy and Partnerships for the LDNP, says, “We welcome the idea of helping our visitors donate more easily towards the National Park. New technology, such as contactless donations, will bring an exciting new option for the millions of people who enjoy the Lake District every year to put something back and help us keep this place special.”

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “Together with the Lake District Foundation and Lake District National Park, we’re really excited to be part of this project exploring new fundraising territory by looking at how technology can make donating to worthy causes as simple as possible.

“When asking our visitors to part with their money, we understand the process needs to be quick, simple and convenient. We welcome all views on how best to embrace this technology and all our findings will be used in helping to form the next stage of how funds can be raised efficiently and securely, while respecting the locations of where this technology may be positioned.”

The survey was sent out to subscribers to Cumbria Tourism’s mailing lists in mid-November and is also available online here.

You can find out more here.

Culture is an important part of our tourism strategy and is one of the three key themes we promote as a reason to visit the Lake District, Cumbria.  We’re committed to helping profile and support the richly diverse cultural scene in the county and 2019 is set to be an exciting year.

One highlight will be a major programme of events celebrating the 200th Anniversary of John Ruskin – a leading Victorian art-critic, prominent social thinker and philanthropist.  Key events to highlight to visitors include: Ruskin, Turner & the Storm Cloud (12 July -5 Oct) at Abbot Hall Art Gallery and Treasure from Dust: the geology of John Ruskin (8 Aug –11 Nov) at Brantwood.

The opening of a major new cultural attraction Windermere Jetty: Museum of Steam & Stories in Spring 2019 is also expected to generate massive interest from people heading to the Lakes. Watch this space for more details!

The Lake District Wedding Fair will launch for the first time in 2019, showcasing the best venues and suppliers Cumbria has to offer.

Couples looking to marry in the county will be able to find all they need in one place over the two-day event, that takes place on the 23rd & 24th of February 2019.

Working in partnership with Cumbria Tourism, the show is an excellent opportunity for many businesses to further market themselves and the county.
Everything from venue exhibitors and live entertainment, to catering, cars, hair and makeup, the show promises to be a weekend to remember.

To get involved please visit lakedistrictweddingfair.co.uk/exhibiting-advertising for more details.

What happens if I overlook the importance of tax planning?

In today’s world of increasing entrepreneurial success and ever-changing tax legislation, businesses and individuals need to think very carefully about tax planning and take advantage of the many tax saving opportunities available by seeking specialist tax planning advice.

The importance of tax planning for businesses

For those running a business, the amount of tax paid will always be directly linked to the amount of net profit you have earned. Effective tax planning is absolutely vital to ensure that your business is running tax efficiently and ultimately successfully, in the long-term.

In many cases, it is possible to achieve tax savings by:

  • Establishing the right business structure.
  • Maximising the allowances on qualifying capital expenditure.
  • Maximising the deductions for allowable expenditure.
  • Ensuring that any withdrawals from the business are made in the most tax-efficient way.
  • Structuring shareholdings and borrowings correctly.

The importance of tax planning for individuals

Effective tax planning is equally important for individuals to take advantage of the allowances and tax saving opportunities available. It is possible to save money on personal taxes by:

  • Maximising the benefits of your, and your spouse or civil partner’s, personal allowances and basic rate bands.
  • Making best use of your tax-free benefits and salary sacrifice schemes.
  • Owning the most tax-efficient motor vehicle for you and your family.
  • Keeping on top of appropriate pension contributions for you and your family.
  • Making the most of tax-efficient borrowings and interest relief.

At Lamont Pridmore, our tax specialists will work closely with you so you can consider the tax implications of every important decision before it is taken.  Our approach has nothing to do with tax avoidance, instead it is just good housekeeping to ensure that you can legally claim the allowances and reliefs that you are entitled to.

 

We will also undertake an annual tax planning review 3 months before your financial year end and again 3 months before the 5th April each year, to ensure that you keep your business and personal tax liabilities to a minimum.

 

To find out more about our Tax Planning and Tax Saving Service WATCH our short video.

 

Need advice?

If your last tax bill was a shock to the system, it’s time to start thinking about how you can reduce your next one today.

At Lamont Pridmore, our tax specialists have a proven track record of helping businesses and individuals in the tourism and hospitality sector to minimise their tax bills and, in some cases, we might even be able to reduce your tax liabilities to nil. Get in touch today to find out how we can help by calling 0800 234 6978 or email info@lamontpridmore.co.uk.

The Cumbria Tourism team last week headed to World Travel Market – widely regarded as the world’s leading travel event for the travel industry.

This was another great opportunity to forge one-to-one relationships with a range of tour operators and tourism specialists, as well as gathering information about the latest travel trends and market insights from both the UK and overseas.

High-profile events like World Travel Market are all about convincing operators that the Lake District, Cumbria, is a ‘must see’ destination, says Cumbria Tourism’s Sales and Marketing Manager, Sue Clarke. “Strengthening relationships with influential contacts is vital for supporting the future growth and prosperity of our members and their businesses.”

World Travel Market is just the latest in the series of major travel trade events we have been attending this autumn to promote the Lake District, Cumbria.

Other recent events included VisitBritain’s annual International Business Exchange (better known as ‘VIBE’) and the Group Travel and Leisure Show at Birmingham’s NEC, where we represented tourism businesses in partnership with Northern Print Distribution (NPD).  Working alongside Associated British Ports (ABP) Barrow, key CT staff also attended Seatrade Cruise Med in Portugal to help stimulate awareness of Barrow as a visitor gateway to the county as a whole.

Work is currently underway to secure a series of national press trips to support Cumbria Tourism’s #theplacetobe winter campaign. Our PR team has already confirmed visits with high circulation titles such as The Daily Express and The Sun, with a series of other trips in the pipeline across the county.

Other recent coverage generated by the team includes a series of reviews in Telegraph Travel, including one of our CT Award winners Lindeth Fell. We also assisted with a ‘Good Walk for The Times’ focusing on Ennerdale and are looking forward to a series of features in Country Walking magazine.

Internationally, we’ve been working on a series of overseas press trips alongside VisitBritain (VB) offices from across the globe, ranging from the USA and Australia to Brazil, Canada and Russia.

In the run-up to the launch of the new flights from Mumbai to Manchester, our PR team linked up with VB and a range of CT members to help host two influencers from the Indian sub-continent. Meanwhile, a large-scale press trip featured a group of seven travel and lifestyle journalists from Germany, Austria and Switzerland on a ‘Best of the Lakes’ themed visit.

To complement this activity, the PR team recently attended a media event with national journalists in central London. We also met directly with VisitBritain PR colleagues from across the globe, to boost their knowledge of Cumbria’s tourism offer and to help highlight the big stories for 2019.

Internationally renowned designer Wayne Hemingway will be the keynote speaker at Cumbria Tourism’s next Members’ meeting later this month, which is exploring future trends and innovations in Cumbria’s visitor sector.

Carlisle Lake District Airport will be the venue for the special event on Wednesday 21 November. Sponsored by the University of Cumbria, it aims to inspire people to find new ways to innovate and stay competitive in a sector worth £2.9billion to the county’s economy.

Wayne Hemingway MBE co-founded fashion label Red or Dead and Hemingway Design, after turning a market stall into a multi-million pound company.  He is an Honorary Fellow of the University of Cumbria and is currently working with Carlisle City Council to deliver a new ‘garden village’ south of the city as part of their ambitious housing and development growth agenda.

Well known as a passionate and thought-provoking speaker, Wayne says, “Creating powerful new ideas and concepts is vital for any business, regardless of the sector. Cumbria is a special place for me, so I’m pleased to be heading to the county this November to share some of my thoughts and experiences of innovation in the business world and hearing from Cumbrian businesses about what they’re doing to break new ground and forge ahead in a challenging and competitive economic climate.”

Alongside Wayne, the event will feature speakers from Foresight Factory, which works with VisitEngland to research visitor trends at a national level. They will be sharing their latest analysis of visitor behaviour; explaining what it means for Cumbria’s tourism sector and sharing their thoughts on how businesses here can make the most of new and emerging opportunities.

Another key speaker will be the Director of the Lake District Foundation, Sarah Swindley, who will be exploring how technology can motivate and increase visitor giving. Sarah will be unveiling details of an innovative project for 2019 to test out how this could work in Cumbria. There will also be the chance to hear from Cumbria Innovations Platform – part of the University of Cumbria – and how it can support small businesses and tourism suppliers.

Finally, with Carlisle Lake District Airport ready for take-off next Spring, there will be an update from Kate Willard from Stobart Group and the offer of a VIP tour of the facilities for all attendees.

Our Business Development Manager, Sarah Glover, says, “We’re excited to welcome some inspiring and insightful speakers for what promises to be a jam-packed event, not least the internationally renowned Wayne Hemingway.  This is also an important opportunity for tourism businesses from across the county to come together to hear the latest on the sector, to network and to get the latest updates from Cumbria Tourism on our recent results and activities.”

Cumbria Tourism members can book up to two free places at the Members’ Meeting by contacting Sam Tollerson: stollerson@cumbriatourism.org / 01539 822222.