On the eve of English Tourism Week, a special tourism summit has today brought together more than 130 Cumbrian businesses with regional and national tourism chiefs to discuss the latest challenges and opportunities for the county’s visitor economy.
Top of the agenda were the results from Cumbria Tourism’s latest Business Performance Tracker, which reveal that the top seven concerns for tourism businesses are all cost-related, with a staggering 94% highlighting rising energy bills.
Carried out in conjunction with accountancy firm Lamont Pridmore, the research also reveals that 86% of businesses believe recruitment of staff continues to be a problem – up from 73% six months ago.
Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, said, “Yesterday’s Spring Budget saw some welcome measures, with improved childcare provision which we hope will help get more people into the labour market where staff shortages are really hampering business productivity. However, many of the industry’s key asks were absent, including no help for businesses facing growing costs across the board.
“As well as sharing the latest results of the business performance tracker, today’s event gave us the chance to bring together the CEO of VisitBritain, Patricia Yates, alongside Richard Toomer from The Tourism Alliance. They shared their insights into the ongoing challenges and consumer sentiment trends, as well as highlighting work and campaigns to support the industry.
“Picking up on some of the themes of the meeting was Olympic athlete and coordinator of Cumbria’s newest health and wellbeing festival, former athlete Steve Cram. He said that while the events industry had suffered due to Covid – and consumer tastes and likes were changing – it was necessary for us all to adapt and to celebrate the huge potential for Cumbria’s visitor economy so it can continue to be a driver in supporting jobs, places, communities, health and wellbeing.
She added: “As we move into English Tourism Week, it’s the perfect time to bring together local and national stakeholders, to hear the voices of our businesses – through the survey results – and to discuss the ways Cumbria Tourism is collaborating with partners to support and celebrate our incredible industry and its people.”
The meeting at the Netherwood Hotel in Grange-over-Sands was timed to coincide with the start of English Tourism Week (Friday 17 – Sunday 26 March), which shines a light on the vital contribution tourism makes nationwide.