Tourism businesses are being praised for adapting their usual practices in efforts to help residents and workers across the county who are being affected by COVID-19.

Cumbria Tourism is working around the clock to support attractions, accommodation providers and other sector-related businesses as the industry and local communities collectively face their biggest-ever challenge in the face of Coronavirus.

Working with its partners, member businesses and Cumbria County Council, the organisation is also helping accommodation providers adapt their services to assist with the local emergency response.

As Cumbria County Council makes calls for temporary workers to support the delivery of critical care services over the coming weeks, it is working alongside Cumbria Tourism to find cooks and domestic support staff to help the most vulnerable members of local communities.

It’s hoped these calls will bring new opportunities for affected workers in the leisure and tourism sector, as well as the creation of new jobs by supporting services including those dedicated to helping with the co-ordination of providing beds for key workers and patients.

While hotels, hostels, B&Bs and self-catering properties have been told to temporarily shut-down under government social distancing measures, exceptions have been made to ensure help is available for frontline key workers who may need alternative accommodation.

Evidence of collaborative working is also rapidly stemming beyond accommodation providers, with many members of Cumbria Tourism quickly developing alternative services and solutions to adapt to the rapidly-changing environment.

Among them, are Chestnut House in Penrith, which has launched a service to deliver locally sourced food to people in-need from surrounding towns and villages. Nutritious take-home meals for the elderly and most vulnerable residents of the Cartmel area are being cooked up by Simon Rogan, owner of L’Enclume and Rogan & Co, while Carvetii Coffee Roasters at Threlkeld is supporting the future of local coffee shops by donating 10% of online orders in the form of coffee beans to each buyer’s nominated branch.

Skincare business Pure Lakes is donating 50 tins of hand balm to local frontline NHS staff, to help return some much-needed moisture to their skin as a result of being well washed and sanitised. Ulverston-based Gin producer, Shed 1, is also producing hand sanitiser (pictured).

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “These are just a few amazing examples of how our local businesses are doing whatever they can to help those in need during this incredibly difficult time. Rather than be beaten by this virus, our businesses are adapting and diversifying however they can, not just to stay in business, but to reach out and help people who really need it.

“Both myself and the whole Board at Cumbria Tourism highly commend these efforts, as this is exactly the kind of teamwork and compassion which, when combined, really go to show what a fantastic community of businesses which we have the pleasure of living among and working with.”

Cumbria Tourism is collating information from all over the county about how businesses are helping with the COVID-19 situation and adapting to reach new customers. Stories can be sent to the team, by emailing info@cumbriatourism.org.

Cumbria Tourism reinforces message telling visitors to stay away

 Jim Walker, Chair of Cumbria Tourism said, “Last night the Prime Minister issued strict new instructions for us all, to protect the NHS and to help save lives in this time of national emergency. All visitors, second home-owners and holiday park caravan owners are very clearly being told to stay at home in their primary residence and we urge people to do just that. We now also need anyone who is here already to return home.

 “Visitors, tourism businesses and residents must take responsibility for themselves and their wider communities. We cannot stress how vitally important this is for Cumbria and its ‘super-ageing’ population, not only to limit the spread of the virus but also to safeguard local health services and infrastructure, which may well come under immense pressure just servicing those local residents’ needs.

 He adds, “To support tourism businesses, our phone lines continue to be open and we are responding to queries as quickly as possible. This is a situation no-one could have anticipated, but we are continuing to lobby the Government for further practical and immediate financial support to help our industry through this critical time. We are also asking tourism operators to keep completing our Business Impact Survey, so we can share evidence of their first-hand experiences with high-level decision-makers.”

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, ‘With the weekend coming up and this gorgeous weather we’re having, it’s even more important that we all follow government advice and stay at home. We know it could be very tempting to head to the fells, lakes and other outdoor spaces across Cumbria and the Lake District, but please don’t. We ask you to think about the community, your own health and that of household members, be responsible, stay at home and together we can stop the spread of this disease and help save lives.’

One of the best known figures in Cumbria’s business community has been selected as a finalist in the ‘IoD North West & Isle of Man Director of the Year Awards 2020’.

Jennifer Cormack has made the shortlist in the Non-Executive Director category, in recognition of her role as a Cumbria Tourism Board Director.

Jennifer is Sales and Marketing Director at Windermere Lake Cruises, also Chairs the English Lake District China Forum and was voted onto the Board of Directors at UKinbound last year – the only trade association to represent the country’s inbound travel industry.

The winners will be revealed at the prestigious Institute of Directors (IoD) awards ceremony at The Hilton in Manchester on Thursday 14 May 2020.

Commenting on the announcement, Jennifer says, “I’m obviously thrilled to have been shortlisted and I’m so grateful to those who nominated me. Collaborative working has never been as important as it is right now, given the challenges we are all working through. However, we work through it together as a team, and calm seas never made a good sailor.

“It is always such a pleasure working with the members of staff and fellow Board Directors at Cumbria Tourism, but also working closely with businesses from across Cumbria and the North of England to strengthen the wider Cumbrian economy. I feel truly humbled to be recognised by the IoD in this way, which motivates me even further to do whatever I can to steer us through these challenging times faced by so many amazing businesses.”

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “Cumbria Tourism is the county’s largest membership organisation, representing approximately 2,500 member businesses and we are extremely fortunate to have such a strong and supportive Board who, between them, possess a wealth of expertise and a shared ambition for Cumbria Tourism members.

“It’s no exaggeration to say that Jennifer is a real powerhouse in the tourism industry, working internationally, national, regionally and here in Cumbria and she brings that same level of energy and commitment to Cumbria Tourism. Along with Cumbria Tourism’s Board and staff, I wish Jennifer the best of luck following this well-deserved nomination.”

Inspirational speakers from key organisations, including the upcoming Eden Project North, will bring together tourism businesses from across Cumbria as they innovative ways to develop the county’s £3billion visitor economy.

Keynote speaker Rob Barratt from the highly anticipated Eden Project North will inspire Cumbria Tourism members with an update on one of the most exciting projects in the North West and how their ethos of education, ecology and community will run alongside opening a ground-breaking must-visit attraction.

The ongoing Coronavirus situation is expected to be a major talking point for attendees at the members’ event, held at The Villa, Levens and sponsored by Considerate Group. Cumbria Tourism will be sharing news and advice on best practice for businesses and directing its members to the support available on its website from the government and VisitBritain.

“Supporting our members on how to react to Coronavirus is a priority for Cumbria Tourism and we are working hard to advise businesses as we shift our short-term focus to staycations within our beautiful rural destination.” says Gill Haigh, Cumbria Tourism MD. “At the same time, we must also keep our eye on future opportunities and developments – it’s vital that Cumbria is ahead of the curve.

“Sustainability and greener tourism practices are becoming more of a priority for both domestic and international visitors and we’re ensuring that local businesses receive the very best advice on how they and their customers can protect the planet.

“It’s also important that the benefits of responsible are understood. Our county boasts two beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Activities and promotions embracing and celebrating the landscape such as our recent Dark Skies Festival can really help open the county to new and emerging markets.”

The event is sponsored by Considerate Group, a specialist company which helps businesses more responsibly through a blend of extensive hospitality industry knowledge, sustainability analysis and more. Additional speakers include the Lake District National Park’s new Low Carbon Coordinator Danny Coward alongside representatives from NFU Mutual, The National Trust and Save Grange Lido.

As a valued partner of Cumbria Tourism, the Executive Board wishes to share with you the attached draft strategy, which it is recommending for approval.

The summary document sets out Cumbria Tourism’s high-level ambitions and strategic direction of travel for the whole of the county for the next five years.

We have been a lead partner in the development of Cumbria’s Local Industrial Strategy and the LEP Visitor Economy Group Plan, which has identified eight key priority areas in order to deliver its mission to: “Build on existing excellence and vibrancy to annually grow the Cumbria wide economic value of the Visitor Economy in real terms over the next five years and to do so in a sustainable manner, developing new opportunities in current underserved parts of the county.”

 These include:

  1. Investment and product development to improve the visitor offer countywide
  2. Effective and tactical marketing to increase the value of tourism (domestic and international) to all parts of the county – attract and disperse
  3. Extend the Seasons
  4. Inclusivity – tourism for all
  5. Development of a Sector Career and Skills Academy to support recruitment, skills and retention
  6. Sustainable low carbon transportation
  7. Digital connectivity
  8. Seeking to secure Sector Deal Tourism Zone Status for Cumbria

 Cumbria Tourism has a growing role as destination coordinator and is pivotally placed to deliver against all these priorities; including leading on Tourism Zone Status, improving the visitor offer, marketing and extending the seasons and contributing significantly to all the others. Cumbria Tourism’s strategy is premised on collaboration – businesses, organisations and individuals across the county and beyond – working together on behalf of the sector.

The draft has also been evidenced and informed by:

  • Cumbria Tourism’s own member and visitor data and trends
  • The LEP Industrial Strategy and Visitor Economy Growth Plan
  • The Lake District National Park Local Plan and Partnership Plan
  • Economic strategies and plans of all our local authority partners
  • VisitEngland’s Strategic Framework
  • The Government’s Tourism Sector Deal

Your views are invited and should be sent to Dianne Furness dfurness@cumbriatourism.org by 12pm, Monday 23rd March.

  1. Click here to view draft strategy

Recruitment and skills challenges are our members’ number one concerns.

That’s why Cumbria Tourism has been lobbying extensively to influence the forthcoming immigration system.

However, last week’s Government policy announcement has stated there will be no ‘general low skilled or temporary work route’ for the tourism and hospitality sector and foreign languages do not appear to be included in the new points based system.

We have already raised serious concerns that this fails to understand our county’s unique recruitment challenges and that if implemented would cause significant damage to our £3bn industry. We have secured a place as part of a small working group, including UKinbound and other tourism and hospitality associations, and are collaborating on a campaign to ensure that Government understands the pressures that the industry, and in particular Cumbria, is under in terms of recruitment and retention which will only be exacerbated by the end of Free Movement.

We now have just a short window of opportunity to demonstrate the impact, and your evidence is critical to help us illustrate our points strongly and clearly.

As one of the leading destinations in the UK this research, supported by our partners Lamont Pridmore, will become part of our lobby to local MPs and to Government to get this initial policy changed for the benefit of Cumbria and the UK.

 

  1. Take survey

We are currently focussing on promoting internal staycations, particularly themed around cosy themes and aimed at couples (older and younger) and families with older children. This content will appear throughout our digital marketing, including our upcoming new website. If your business offers experiences or activities which fit in with these themes please contact us to learn more about how to get involved.

Topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Low level walks
  • Fireside pub meals
  • Spa days
  • Afternoon teas (sweet and savoury)
  • Stargazing
  • Shared cosy experiences

To learn more email campaigns@cumbriatourism.org or call the team on 01539 822 222.

Cumbria Tourism is expressing serious concerns about the Government’s proposed new UK points-based immigration system, which it says fails to recognise the county’s unique recruitment challenges – and could cause real damage to its £3billion tourism industry.

The proposed post-Brexit immigration system unveiled today, 19 February 2020, means there would be no route for lower-skilled workers to come to the UK from the end of this year.

However, the county’s official Destination Management Organisation says this is a major blow for Cumbria, where there is already a labour shortage and European workers are needed to fill job vacancies in tourism and hospitality.

President of Cumbria Tourism, Eric Robson, comments, “The issue of future restrictions has been repeatedly highlighted by businesses and organisations including Cumbria Tourism, but disappointingly, these proposals fail to recognise the specific needs of our visitor economy.

 “Cumbria’s population is less than half a million – and ageing fast – which means there is a limit on the number of eligible working age people available locally. Therefore, we require a range of workers to sustain tourism related- businesses, maintain vibrant communities and secure future prosperity for all sectors.

 “From the start, we have been calling for ‘special case’ recognition for rural areas like Cumbria which face unique recruitment challenges. European workers are an important asset and we’re calling on the Government to rethink this flawed policy, which will severely restrict our industry’s ability to attract and retain the staff they need to not only to fill job roles but also to deliver world class customer service.

“Cumbria Tourism will be speaking to organisations nationally such as UKinbound, VisitBritain and the Tourism Alliance, as well as calling directly on our own MPs and wider government, to urgently address this issue.”