Ian Stephens

Cumbria Tourism is paying tribute its former Managing Director, Ian Stephens, after he was presented with a special ‘Lifetime Contribution to Cumbria’ award at the In-Cumbria Business Awards 2017.

This prestigious accolade is given to someone who has had a significant and positive impact on the Cumbrian business community over a period of years.

Ian stepped down from his role at Cumbria Tourism this summer, after working in the tourism and leisure sector for almost 30 years in a number of operational and leadership roles. He became Chief Executive of Cumbria Tourism in 2005, and was formerly the organisation’s Deputy Chief Executive and Operations Director.

During his time at Cumbria Tourism, he played a pivotal role in various marketing campaigns such as The Place to Be, Taste Cumbria and Adventure Capital. He was also heavily involved in crisis management around issues such as Foot and Mouth recovery and flood recovery.

Cumbria Tourism’s current Managing Director, Gill Haigh, says, “We are all so proud of Ian and thank him for all he has given and continues to give Cumbria Tourism, the tourism sector and the county. Ian has created a lasting legacy and the team here are CT are committed to ensuring we build on this good work and continue to drive forward our vital £2.72billion visitor economy.”

Notes to Editors:
Cumbria Tourism is the county’s official Destination Management Organisation and is at the heart of the Cumbria Visitor Economy. It is also the largest membership organisation in Cumbria with more than 2,500 members. In 2016, 45 million people visited Cumbria, contributing more than £2.72 billion to the local economy and supporting around 62,000 jobs.

For more information about visiting the Lake District, Cumbria, visit: www.golakes.co.uk
To find out more about the work of Cumbria Tourism, visit www.cumbriatourism.org

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The latest plans for Carlisle Airport, hot-off-the-press sector performance data, expert advice for businesses wanting to make the most of World Heritage Status and details on funded tourism apprenticeships – just some of the headline topics at Cumbria Tourism’s Members’ Meeting this Thursday 9 November 2017.

This key event in the county’s tourism sector calendar will be held at Carus Green Golf Club and is open to Cumbria Tourism’s 2,500 member businesses. It will also feature a ‘Question Time’ style session with tourism experts focussing on: ‘Maximising opportunities for the visitor economy’.

As the county’s official Destination Management Organisation, Cumbria Tourism’s event brings members together to network and discuss topical issues, hear insights into major developments within the county, as well as details on marketing opportunities available to the tourism industry. This week’s event will be the inaugural meeting with new Managing Director Gill Haigh at the helm, and she will be outlining her observations and thoughts on future priorities and opportunities for Cumbria Tourism and the sector.

She will be joined by guest speakers Kate Willard (Stobart Group) and Martin Saxton (Stobart Air) to discuss the business benefits of Carlisle Airport’s upcoming expansion, and Paul Armstrong (University of Cumbria), who will outline opportunities for degree level apprenticeships and student placements.

The meeting will also feature an update on Cumbria Tourism’s latest business survey which examined businesses’ perceptions of key issues including Brexit and the new Lake District World Heritage status.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says: “My first few weeks in the job have been extremely busy and productive and it says much for the high regard in which the organisation is held, and the central position it plays in promoting and supporting the industry. I have already met and been invited to meet with dozens of organisations, member businesses and individuals. I will be sharing my findings since starting the role, the significant achievements Cumbria Tourism has been making, and importantly, my thoughts on our future priorities and opportunities ahead”.

The event is supported by our corporate and supplier members, including Kashing, Cumberland Business, The Cocoabean Hawkshead, Bucket & Spade, Visit Kendal, Lakeland Radio, Sealy Beds, Northern Print Distribution and H & H Reeds Printers, as well as Cumbria Tourism’s own commercial services. Cumbria Tourism recently revealed plans to partner with the Lakes Hospitality Trade Show on 7 and 8 March 2018 and businesses can also find out more at the event.

If you are a current member and have not yet booked your place at the Members’ Meeting – or if you are not yet a member and are interested in joining Cumbria Tourism – please contact the team on 01539 822222 / stollerson@cumbriatourism.org.

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Cumbria Tourism is today launching the Love Cumbria rewards card for visitors, to give them easy access to some of the special seasonal experiences they can enjoy during the winter months.

From now until mid-March visitors to the Lake District, Cumbria can take advantage of over 40 exclusive winter warming offers to a host of quality attractions, restaurants and seasonal treats making it the ‘must have’ holiday accessory of the season. The card can either be bought online or at a participating outlet around the county.

The Love Cumbria card includes ‘2 for 1s’ and up to 25% off entrance to popular attractions, cafes and restaurants. For just £10, the card gives 2 people easy access to the offers for a 2 week period from the date of arrival in the Lake District, Cumbria.

So whether you fancy dining out for two, flying through the trees on a zip-wire adventure or exploring an historic arts and crafts house oozing with history, there will be plenty of special seasonal treats in store for all.

Sue Clarke, Sales & Marketing Manager at Cumbria Tourism, says,

“We are delighted to be welcoming back The Love Cumbria Winter Rewards Card for a second winter season. We were overwhelmed with how well last year’s inaugural winter marketing campaign was received by our visitors, and look forward to making this winter even more special for everyone who is planning a cosy break away. Remember a Love Cumbria Card really is the ‘must have’ holiday accessory of the year and we have a host of fantastic offers to take advantage of across the whole of our stunning county.

Participating businesses include: Gilpin Spice, The Cliffhanger Rooms, Senhouse Roman Museum, Lanercost Priory and Keswick Climbing Wall to name just a few.

Find your reason to love Cumbria this winter by visiting golakes.co.uk/winter and buy your card HERE

Keep up to date with everything Love Cumbria by following the Facebook and Twitter pages.

Latest figures from Cumbria Tourism’s research team reveal that occupancy rates for the county’s self-catering properties are up 5% so far this year – and self-catering figures during 2017’s peak holiday season were the highest for almost a decade.

It’s been a strong year so far, with bookings for Cumbria’s self-catering units up 5% overall (January-September 2017) compared to the first 9 months of last year.

In August, self-catering occupancy reached 87%. Traditionally the busiest month of the year for the county’s £2.72billion tourism industry, this was the best-performing August since 2008.

Research Manager for Cumbria Tourism, Helen Tate, says, “Building on a strong performance in 2016, these are another positive set of figures for Cumbria’s visitor economy for the year to date.

“The national uncertainty about the impact of Brexit and the trend towards staycations are key factors in more people choosing to holiday at home. Recent figures from the International Passenger Survey also reveal a 14% increase in visitors coming to the North West from overseas for the first six months of this year, which underlines how cost-effective it is for international visitors at the moment.

“Self-catering is certainly a flexible, convenient option for many domestic and overseas holiday-makers, giving them a range of unique opportunities to explore many lesser-known locations right across Cumbria.”

Family-run business Heart of the Lakes has more than 300 holiday cottages across the Lake District.

Chris Jackson, Partner of Heart of the Lakes says: “So far 2017 has been an extremely strong year for Heart of the Lakes and we have seen an increase in bookings on last year, as well as a strong growth in visitors to our website and engagement with our social media activity. What is even more promising is the forward projections for 2018 as at the moment we are substantially ahead of this time last year. This gives us confidence that the trend will continue and staycations will continue to grow.”

Meanwhile, Cumbria’s serviced accommodation, which includes hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs, was also up 1% in both August and September this year, compared to the same two months in 2016.

Monthly occupancy services are undertaken by Cumbria Tourism as part of its role as the county’s official Destination Management Organisation. To find out more about taking part, businesses can contact Research Manager, Helen Tate: htate@cumbriatourism.org

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Five accommodation providers across the county have been nationally recognised by Visit England for providing outstanding customer service.

Yewfield in Hawkshead, Lyzzick Hall Hotel in Keswick, The Homestead Lodge in Windermere, Blencowe Hall in Penrith and Brambleside in Allonby all received VisitEngland’s ROSE (Recognition of Service Excellence) Award for 2017 at the Independent Hotel Show in London yesterday.

The ROSE award is designed to showcase those establishments that provide the warmest of welcome and where the owners, managers and staff really know how to delight their customers, irrespective of their star rating, style or type of accommodation.

The winners were nominated by VisitEngland quality scheme assessors and selected from assessor comments and online feedback from overseas and domestic visitors.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh said: “It’s brilliant to see so many tourism businesses being recognised for quality accommodation and customer service in Cumbria, it’s this dedication that makes Cumbria a world-class destination to both domestic and international visitors.

“In 2016, more than 45 million people visited Cumbria and its businesses providing the best customer experience combined with our unique landscape and quality attractions that interest this number of visitors.”

To find out more about staying in Cumbria or to book accommodation visit www.golakes.co.uk

Sam Tollerson with the new Mycumbria van

Residents’ reward scheme heads into local communities

Cumbria Tourism’s MyCumbria local discount card scheme is continuing to expand and will be heading into local communities over the coming weeks with its new-look electric van, to promote a range of discounted days outs – all purely for people living or working in Cumbria.

MyCumbria, which celebrates its fifth birthday this year, recognises the important role that residents play in supporting the county’s thriving tourism economy and now has more than 240 unique residents’ offers for a diverse variety of pubs, cafes, restaurants, tourist attractions and retailers throughout the county.

As well as providing great savings for individuals, the card is a practical way for residents to support local jobs and businesses.

Hot on the heels of a revamped MyCumbria website, Cumbria Tourism’s electric van has just had a special makeover and will be heading to local shows and events to spread the word about the benefits on offer for local people. (The van will also be used by staff for short day-to-day journeys as a more sustainable way of getting around).

Sam Tollerson, from Cumbria Tourism’s Business Development team says, “Cumbria Tourism’s role is to support our visitor economy, and the MyCumbria scheme is all about recognising the people who live and work here too. MyCumbria has continued to grow and grow over the past 5 years, and it is a great way for locals to show their support for the tourism businesses which form such an important part of our communities.

Sam adds, “Many of our local hospitality businesses are providing offers that you won’t find anywhere else, so it really is a great scheme for cost-conscious families, especially in the run-up to Christmas.”

A small sample of current MyCumbria offers include:

  • 2 for 1 Afternoon Tea at Lakeside Hotel & Spa
  • 2 for 1 cinema tickets on selected days at Plaza Cinema in Workington, The Royalty in Bowness and The Roxy in Ulverston
  • 15% off Forest Segway at Whinlatter Forest, Keswick
  • 50% full return fare for up to 2 people at Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway
  • 2 for 1 entry to Senhouse Roman Museum, Maryport
  • 20% off 2 hour Tree Top Trek, Brockhole
  • 25% off admission to Carlisle Castle


For £20, MyCumbria card-holders have access to 240+ deals and offers for an entire year.

To purchase or renew a MyCumbria card, visit us at http://www.mycumbriacard.co.uk or call 01539 822222.

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Cumbria Tourism is urging businesses to complete a survey capturing the current successes and challenges facing the county’s £2.72 billion tourism sector. The results will help ensure the organisation can better support the industry and underline Cumbria’s status as a world-class visitor destination.

The ‘Tourism Business Health Check’ aims to find out how the sector is performing, and gives tourism businesses the chance to comment anonymously on the issues and trends affecting trade, ranging from concerns about Brexit negotiations to the importance of the new Carlisle Lake District Airport and the impact of the Lake District’s newly confirmed World Heritage Status.

The latest research being co-ordinated by Cumbria Tourism focuses on the last six months (April – September 2017) and will be used to benchmark the county’s long-term performance. The organisation will also use the results to identify key issues to raise and work together with policy and decision-makers to ensure a continued strong visitor economy.

Cumbria Tourism is currently distributing the anonymous survey to tourism businesses.

Research Manager, Helen Tate, says, “This regular health check of the county’s tourism businesses is really important for helping us to understand all the key issues affecting trade – both positive and negative. The survey is quick and easy to complete, and allows us to build a clearer picture of current and emerging issues, so we can keep supporting the industry and continuously improve as a world-class visitor destination.”

Gill Haigh, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, adds, “Our research function is one of the key activities which distinguishes us as Cumbria’s official destination management organisation and we are proactively seeking evidence from tourism businesses to understand the changing needs of the sector. The answers to these in-depth questions will be a very important and rich source of data, which will help determine how we can best support businesses in the coming months and years.”

The six-monthly ‘Tourism Business Health Check’ is just one area of regular research undertaken by Cumbria Tourism as part of its role as the county’s official destination management organisation. Other analysis by the research team includes monthly occupancy surveys, county-wide visitor surveys, regular analysis of accommodation stock and data collection from Tourist Information Centres and visitor attractions.

For more information on Cumbria Tourism’s research programme, contact Research Manager, Helen Tate: htate@cumbriatourism.org

Lakes Hospitality Trade Show

Cumbria’s longest-running trade show is expanding for 2018, thanks to a new partnership between the Lakes Hospitality Association (LHA) and Cumbria Tourism.

The Lakes Hospitality Trade Show was established more than 30 years ago and is now one of the longest-running events of its kind in the North of England, committed to re-investing profits back into the tourism industry.

As part of a brand-new agreement, the LHA is joining forces with Cumbria Tourism – the county’s official destination management organisation – to host the next Lakes Hospitality Trade Show on Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8 March 2018.

Free to attend, the two-day event at the J36 Rural Auction Centre is expanding to include an even wider range of hospitality businesses, including tourist attractions, food and drink suppliers and support services such as IT technology and catering equipment.

For the first time, the show will also include a series of interactive workshops run by Cumbria Tourism aimed at giving participants a new insight into topics including digital marketing, PR and new data protection regulations.

James Tasker, a Director of the Lakes Hospitality Association, says, “The Lakes Hospitality Trade Show has a fantastic heritage and has built up a strong reputation for giving business-owners and decision-makers direct access to a range of products and services which can help them grow and develop. It’s important that the show continues to evolve, and we are teaming up with Cumbria Tourism to help diversify what’s on offer to businesses and reach further into new and emerging markets.

“Our ultimate aim is to make the 2018 Lakes Hospitality Trade Show the biggest and best yet, so we can re-direct profits from the event back into the hospitality sector. Most recently, the money generated has helped to ensure that the Windermere Tourist Information Centre remained open, and we are committed to providing that practical support that the industry needs.”

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, comments, “The new partnership between the Lakes Hospitality Association and Cumbria Tourism is an exciting development, which will bring a fresh dimension to an event which has continued to grow and expand over the past three decades. The Lakes Hospitality Association is well-regarded by businesses and we believe that working together will help us to provide the maximum impact and support that our vibrant and diverse tourism sector deserves.”

To find out more about exhibiting at the Lakes Hospitality Trade Show on 7 and 8 March 2018, contact Show Co-ordinator Sarah Tasker on: 015394 44495 / 07709 152398 / sarah@lakeshospitalitytradeshow.co.uk.

The long-running Lakes Hospitality Trade Show for business providers, suppliers and supporters should not be confused with the similarly-named North West Hospitality Show taking place at the same venue in early 2018; this is a completely separate event.



The Lake District has retained its name as one of the most prestigious foodie destinations in the UK, as well as being the best in the whole of the North West.


Cumbria’s position on the nationwide food map has been bolstered this year with The Forest Side at Grasmere and Hrishi at Gilpin Hotel & Lake House in Windermere retaining their one star, together with Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume in Cartmel continuing to boast two Michelin Stars.

Since setting up L’Enclume in 2002, restaurateur Simon Rogan has been honoured by the Michelin Guide every year since 2005. Last year saw newcomers Gilpin Hotel & Lake House and The Forest Side gain their star for the first year.

Michelin star restaurants lure gastronomes from all corners of the globe and are famed for offering the crème de la crème of eating and dining experiences – particularly with international visitors.

While Cumbria is one of England’s largest counties it is also one of its least urbanised making its culinary prowess even more significant.

To celebrate the outstanding food and drink offering in Cumbria, Cumbria Tourism has launched their annual Food and Drink Guide. Introduced by restaurant proprietors, Liam and Kath Berney of the 3 AA Rosette The Cottage in the Wood near Keswick, the Food and Drink Guide showcases some of Cumbria’s best restaurants, pubs and local producers. A go-to guide for visitors coming to Cumbria the Food and Drink Guide is distributed across the county as well as within a two and a half hour driving distance for visitors on their way to the county.

Gill Haigh, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, said: “To have such a concentration of food excellence in the area is a prestigious honour for Cumbria’s restaurant industry. It also means our visitors and residents have the luxury of choice for somewhere special to dine that is among the most select company in the country.

As well as quality restaurants, Cumbria is renowned for its original produce; Herdwick lamb, Cumberland sausage, sticky toffee pudding and Grasmere Gingerbread.

The Food and Drink Guide is a staple publication for the millions of visitors coming to Cumbria each year and we’re proud to produce the extensive guide with our members.”