A packed line-up of specialist speakers have been confirmed for a large-scale Brexit event to help Cumbria’s tourism businesses with their last minute preparations for the UK’s planned departure from the EU.

UKInbound is among the sector-specific experts to be revealed for the free ‘Are you ready for Brexit?’ conference on Tuesday 29 October 2019, alongside speakers covering a range of HR, legal and financial issues which could specifically affect tourism and hospitality businesses.

Suitable for B&Bs/guesthouses, hotels, visitor attractions, retailers and suppliers, the conference at the Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa will also include three practical workshops covering post-Brexit employment issues, recruitment and retention, and protecting sales.

Cumbria-based companies such as Cumberland Business, Thomson Hayton Winkley, Armstrong Watson, Langdale Hotel & Spa and People Junction will all be on hand to help businesses navigate the maze of uncertainty.


Helping hospitality staff welcome international customers:

To coincide with Brexit, Cumbria Tourism has also unveiled plans for a free workshop on Welcoming International Customers’ on Wednesday 30 October 2019, at Lindeth Howe Country House Hotel.

Aimed at front-end staff such as receptionists, concierges, and bar and restaurant staff, a specialist trainer will help participants enhance their understanding of different cultures and build the skills and confidence they need to help attract more international visitors. Everyone who successfully completes the training will receive official Welcome to Excellence certification.

Both events are part of a package of activity being spearhead by Cumbria Tourism, after the organisation was awarded funding from the Government’s Business Readiness Fund to tackle Brexit-related areas of concern for the county’s £3billion tourism industry.

Cumbria Tourism is providing additional help and support to tourism businesses through webinars, targeted newsletters, a new microsite, public relations and social media.


Businesses can book now for the ‘Are you ready for Brexit?’ conference (Tues 29 Oct) and the Welcoming International Customers course (Weds 30 Oct).

Thousands of pounds are up for grabs to help fund the promotion of events right across Cumbria, with organisers being invited to begin the applications process for a share of the cash now.

The process to apply for grants from the Lakes Hospitality Association (LHA) has been opened-up to everyone for the first time, with a slice of thousands of pounds available for events taking place outside of the busy tourist seasons.

Those who are successful in their applications for a grant will be provided with funds to assist with each event’s public relations and sales & marketing strategies through working with Cumbria Tourism.

Funds are raised by the Lakes Hospitality Trade Show, which celebrates its 45th anniversary in 2020 and takes place at the J36 Auction Mart on 25-26 March.

Attracting hundreds of hospitality professionals to Cumbria every year, exhibitors at the show represent everything from décor and furniture to insurance and eco-friendly products.

Describing their event funding offer as “a fundamental principle” of the Lakes Hospitality Trade Show, the LHA says the scheme creates a direct way of ploughing money back into Cumbria’s essential tourism industry.

To further boost all year-round tourism, the LHA are looking for events taking place outside the main tourist season.

Previous funding beneficiaries include Bowness Bay Blues Festival, Kendal Torchlight Carnival, Windermere and Hawkshead Christmas Markets and the Barrow Super Soapbox Challenge.

LHA Director, James Tasker, says, “The Lakes Hospitality Trade Show is unique – not only for being the only show of its kind in the area, but as profits are redirected back into projects and events that will directly benefit local economies, the Bowness Bay Blues Festival and the Kendal Torchlight Festival being a couple of high profile examples – the latter of which sees the population of the town double during the evening, which is a welcome post-summer financial boost.

“While the trade show itself is just a two-day event, its effects are more far-reaching than for just that time-period and for individuals who work in our industry. The whole Cumbrian community feels the benefits of the trade show all year-round, thanks to large chunks of funding being raised for some of the county’s best-loved events. A highlight of the summer was in Barrow, where 14,000 people enjoyed the Super Soapbox Challenge.

“We’re really excited to see our grants scheme grow from strength to strength as we work hand-in-hand with both local businesses and communities to help Cumbria grow and prosper during what we all know are increasingly competitive and uncertain times.”

Working in partnership with Cumbria Tourism, the LHA will review each application thoroughly, so the more information applicants can provide, the better.

Events must take place between September 2020 and August 2021. They can be brand new or established events but must be taking place outside of the main tourist seasons, such as the school summer holidays.

To apply for funding, click here. Please note, the applications process closes on 31 January 2020.

The 45th annual Lakes Hospitality Trade Show takes place on March 25-26 at the J36 Rural Auction Centre at Crooklands – just a one-minute drive from the M6 motorway.

Train travel for people who live and work in the county is set to become more affordable, thanks to a new long-term offer being launched by Cumbria Tourism’s popular ‘MyCumbria’ scheme.

MyCumbria has teamed up with train operator Northern to offer a third off off-peak day single or day return tickets for journeys on services within Cumbria, along with Silverdale, Carnforth and Lancaster. That covers rail travel between almost 50 train stations, including:

Cumbrian Coast line: Barrow-in-Furness – Carlisle
Furness line: Barrow-in-Furness – Lancaster
Lakes line: Oxenholme Lake District – Windermere
Settle & Carlisle line: Carlisle – Dent
Tyne Valley line: Carlisle – Brampton (Cumbria)
Lancaster – Oxenholme Lake District

MyCumbria cards are produced by Cumbria Tourism and are available for anyone who lives or works in a CA or LA postcode area. There are already around 250 special offers available for MyCumbria card holders, including a wide range of places to eat and drink, things to do and shopping discounts on Northern train routes.

The new Northern offer is set to run for at least 12 months and also coincides with a wider travel marketing campaign being spearheaded by Cumbria Tourism and Northern to encourage more people to make use of the train to travel around the county.

This summer Northern launched its brand-new trains in Cumbria with the state-of-the-art services operating on the Cumbrian coast line and from Barrow and Windermere down to Manchester Airport. The trains, which have replaced Northern’s older stock, feature free customer Wi-Fi, air conditioning, at-seat charging and customer information screens; all of which means customers can not only save with this new offer – they can do so while travelling in more comfort than ever before.

Beatrice Hooson oversees the MyCumbria card scheme at Cumbria Tourism. She says,

“Living and working in a county like Cumbria, it’s easy to forget the vast range of attractions on our doorstep. MyCumbria is all about encouraging residents to explore different parts of the county and make the most of the world-class locations we sometimes take for granted. This latest rail offer is a great way to promote days out by rail to locals, by making it a little easier and more affordable to get around by train.”

 Mark Powles, Commercial Director at Northern, said: “Cumbria is a fantastic county with breath-taking scenery and wonderful towns and villages. We’re delighted to be working with Cumbria Tourism to showcase all that the county has to offer, with rail travel at a fraction of the usual price. And, of course, many journeys in Cumbria are now made on our brand new trains which have been serving our customers since the summer.”

 MyCumbria cards cost £20 for 12 months and are available online at www.cumbriatourism.org/shop/mycumbria-card/ or by contacting Cumbria Tourism on info@mycumbriacard.co.uk / 01539 822222.

 The new offer is applicable to one person per MyCumbria card and is valid on Northern services only (not TransPennine Express or Virgin Trains).  The discount applies at all times during weekends and Bank Holidays, as well as Monday to Friday on trains timed to depart from 9am onwards.

 Train tickets can be purchased prior to travel from ticket offices, online, mobile apps or ticket machines.

As the final countdown to Brexit continues, the organisation representing Cumbria’s tourism businesses says it’s more important than ever for businesses to contribute to vital research capturing the current successes and challenges facing the £3billion industry.

With the prospect of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit on 31 October still a very real possibility, Cumbria Tourism says the uncertainty around a wide range of Brexit-related issues is having a major impact. However, with other destinations nationally also vying for government attention, it needs first-hand evidence from tourism operators to continue making the county’s voice heard the highest level.

Cumbria Tourism carries out a ‘Tourism Business Health Check’ every six months to find out how the sector is performing, but never before have the responses been so useful for supporting the future direction of Cumbria’s visitor economy.

The organisation’s latest health check covering April-September 2019 is carried out in association with asset and wealth management specialists, Lamont Pridmore. It also includes new targeted questions around skills, staff retention and inclusivity – all hot topics as Brexit looms ever closer.

The survey gives people the chance to comment anonymously and although it only takes 5-10 minutes to complete, it provides rich data which Cumbria Tourism can use to help make the county’s case for future investment, strategy and business support, as well as informing key partners such as local authorities, the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the Lake District National Park in their work on behalf of the sector.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “As we approach the great unknown of Brexit, there has never been a more important time to work together to gather up-to-date, accurate feedback from businesses. This survey is quick and easy to complete, and by taking part, businesses are helping us to continuously improve as a world-class visitor destination and sustain almost 65,000 full and part-time jobs across the county.

 “Just this week, we have seen the House of Lords’ Select Committee debating the importance of tourism to the rural economy.  It follows an earlier session at Westminster where I was invited to join a panel of experts giving evidence about the current and emerging issues faced by our industry. This is a prime example where we can use research gathered from businesses here in Cumbria and feed it directly into our lobbying work with national decision-makers.       

 “With the continued participation of businesses in this survey, we can keep up this type of pressure to strengthen not just the visitor economy, but Cumbria’s economy as a whole.”

 Chief Executive of Lamont Pridmore, Graham Lamont, says, “Cumbrian businesses are facing growing uncertainty around the implications of Brexit, regardless of whether the UK leaves with or without a deal. Not knowing what lies ahead in terms of legislation, tariffs, supply chains and staffing makes it challenging for small business to plan and successfully mitigate against. 

“It is increasingly important that businesses complete Cumbria Tourism’s Business Performance Survey.  It will provide the team with a robust understanding of issues and present a firm evidence base from which to lobby for change and increased support for the county’s tourism industry.”

 Complete the survey here now.

Over 80 people attended VisitBritain’s Taking England to the World event at the Roundthorn Country House Hotel last month for a day of expert training on becoming international-ready.

Developed as part of the Government’s £40 million Discover England Fund, it was fantastic to see so many of our members making the most of this event as it travelled to the county.

If you’re interested in making your business more attractive to overseas guests, or you’re looking to expand further into this market VisitBritain have also produced a FREE inbound tourism toolkit, available for download HERE. If you require further assistance our expert international team can help – please contact Francine at fbult@cumbriatourism.org

Cumbria Tourism is representing our members at a series of travel trade shows this autumn to forge one-to-one relationships on your behalf and put our region at the forefront of their minds. We will be also be gathering valuable information about the latest travel trends and market insights from a range of tourism specialists.

This week the team is at VisitBritain’s annual International Business Exchange (better known as ‘VIBE’), forging links with operators from across the globe. Then it’s the turn of the Group Travel and Leisure Show, where we will be representing tourism businesses in partnership with Northern Print Distribution (NPD).

That’s followed by World Travel Market in November – a huge three day event at ExCeL London, which brings together almost 5,000 exhibiting companies and more than 51,000 visitors.

The activity follows a summer of attendance at large-scale visitor events, such as the prestigious Chatsworth Country Fair, where the CT team promoted the Lake District, Cumbria, as a ‘must see’ destination.

Cumbria Tourism’s PR Team was back in London last week to promote everything The Lake District, Cumbria has to offer all year round – to more than 20 international markets.

The annual ‘PR Connect’ event offers destinations like ours the chance to stand alongside many more from across the UK, highlighting what’s new and exciting in the coming months.

One-to-one meetings were held between Cumbria Tourism and VisitBritain representatives from all over the world, including Australia, the US, China, India and many European countries including Germany, Spain, France and Italy.

In all, 22 meetings were held at the top of London’s Millbank Tower to discuss how to strengthen tourism links with our international friends, through the use of effective PR by working with writers who are always on the lookout for a great destination to visit.

While visitors from such a wide range of countries have differing needs, wants and expectations – and to varying degrees, a series of themes emerged during the meetings – including a common desire to help the environment by getting to (and around) Cumbria by using only sustainable methods of transport.
Our team also noted increasing levels of interest in lesser-visited towns and villages around Morecambe Bay and along Cumbria’s west coast – with western Europeans particularly keen to ‘see life through the lens of a local’.

Above all, Cumbria Tourism is delighted to report that the county is viewed by all markets as a destination that’s suitable for all lifestyles, tastes and budgets and we look forward to devising itineraries for VisitBritain’s chosen travel writers, photographers, bloggers and vloggers throughout 2020 and beyond.

With just over three weeks to go until Britain leaves the EU, Cumbria Tourism has secured more than £26,000 to help tourism businesses with last minute preparations for a potential ‘No Deal’ Brexit.

The grant has been awarded by the Government’s Business Readiness Fund and will enable Cumbria’s official Destination Management Organisation (DMO) to tackle several key areas of concern for the county’s £3billion tourism industry.

A package of activity now being spearhead by Cumbria Tourism will include a large-scale Brexit event on Tuesday 29 October at Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa, Windermere. Any tourism-related business in the county can sign up for free, to access support and advice from a range of sector-specific experts on the day.

The event is based around research carried out by Cumbria Tourism, which highlights a number of key issues are causing particular anxiety for tourism and hospitality businesses.

That includes:

  • The recruitment and retention of migrant workers, as well as retaining and recruitment staff from both the UK and non-EU countries to ensure vacancies are filled.
  • Ensuring that European visitors continue to feel welcome and businesses can confidently advise them about travel arrangements.
  • Changes to financial and data protection arrangements.

Following the new funding, Cumbria Tourism will also be hosting two customer-service workshops for front-end staff, such as receptionists, concierges, and bar and restaurant staff.

All three events will be complemented with a practical advice guide for business, offering sector-specific tips and expert advice to overcome the challenges of a potential No Deal Brexit. Additional help and support will be communicated to tourism businesses through webinars, targeted newsletters, a new microsite, public relations and social media.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “Our £3billion tourism industry faces a number of very specific challenges around Brexit and this new funding allows us to develop a range of practical events and resources to help businesses navigate through the uncertainty of the coming weeks.

“No-one knows for sure whether Brexit will take place on 31 October as the Government plans, and whether that will be with a formal EU agreement – or without one. With this continuing uncertainty, it is essential that businesses are as prepared as they can be for the different scenarios, so they can remain strong and competitive for the future.”

Cumbria Tourism’s recently appointed President Eric Robson recently named businesses’ growing concerns about current policy on migrant workers post-Brexit as one of his top priorities. He comments, “We know from past experience that Cumbria’s tourism businesses are resilient, but tackling Brexit-related concerns around labour supply, recruitment and skills are fundamental to the future success of our visitor economy.

 “Operators are already facing challenges around rising overhead costs and changing consumer habits, so Cumbria Tourism has a vital role to play in helping businesses make sense of the additional challenges – and opportunities – in the days ahead.”

Book Your Place

Come along to a presentation with Regalo’s Harriet Russell on Wednesday 30th October at 1pm to find out more.

You might have already heard about our exciting partnership with Regalo, an online gift voucher platform, but if you haven’t… Regalo provides growing hospitality businesses an easy and effective way to sell gift vouchers online and generate direct revenue.

As members of Cumbria Tourism, you have the opportunity to sell gift vouchers directly through Golakes, which attracts 19 million page views per year.

Harriet Russell, Account Director at Regalo, said: “I can’t emphasise enough how key the next three months are in terms of potential revenue generation for businesses. Around 70% of all gift voucher sales are made in the last quarter of the year, so any business which is not already offering gift vouchers is missing out on a very easy, and potentially large, additional stream of revenue”

Gill Haigh, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, told us: “We’re excited to be approaching our second Christmas with Golakes vouchers. Throughout the year, we receive extremely positive feedback from our members, but we know that the winter months are a crucial time for voucher sales. We are increasingly proud to offer Regalo as one of our member benefits. So, I would highly recommend coming to Staveley on the 30th October to listen to Harriet’s presentation, see the platform in action, and let her answer any questions you may have.”

Keswick Alhambra are Cumbria Tourism members who signed up to Regalo just before last Christmas and have been delighted with the product.

“It’s such a great way for people to introduce our cinema to friends and family who might not have been before. We’ve generated sales we might have never made with Regalo and had people find our website through theirs. We’ve found that people are buying last-minute birthday and special occasion gift vouchers for us from Regalo. It’s a great, instant present, and those who get the vouchers are delighted with them!”

For more information on Regalo now, visit regalo.gifts or contact Harriet on 07484 880 175 or email harriet.russell@regalo.gifts 

 To sign up for this event or learn more about it please email Beatrice Hooson at bhooson@cumbriatourism.org.