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.

It’s official – Cumbria is cool! National Geographic Traveller UK ranked the county as the fourth coolest global destination earlier this month, highlighting our three new Michelin starts (bringing our total to an amazing seven) and the celebrations taking place throughout the year in celebration of Wordsworth’s 250th birthday.

CT press trips to Carlisle and Hadrian’s Wall have also resulted in print coverage, with a February feature in The Sunday Post’s focussing on our Border City and Roman heritage. Another Scottish paper, The Herald, also showcased the county’s heritage to tourists north of the border and Daily Telegraph readers looking for a weekend itinerary were spoilt for choice thanks to a 48 hour guide to the Lake District we arranged.

Cinemagoers will also catch a glimpse of the county over half-term. Released last week, Dolittle starring superstar Robert Downey Junior shot scenes in and around Kirkby Lonsdale. We’ve managed to spot the market square in the trailer, where else do you recognise? Film and TV productions don’t just inspire viewers to follow in the footsteps of their favourite productions, hosting crews brought an estimated £1million into the county’s economy in 2019 according to Creative England.

Press coverage and features highlighting Cumbria as #theplacetobe to readers are secured in different ways. Sometimes it’s through visits from journalists, bloggers and influencers experiencing Cumbria’s delights first-hand, and at other times it’s through the drip feed of content and ideas our PR team provide behind the scenes.  If you are interested in hosting any future press visits, or if you have some upcoming exciting news please let us know by emailing pressoffice@cumbriatourism.org.

Cumbria Tourism is continuing its efforts to influence the Government’s Immigration Policy.

It is asking Government to recognise the catastrophic effect of a reduced EU labour pool and to ensure the county’s unique set of circumstances are accounted for.

The industry supports 67,000 jobs and at the same time Cumbria has almost full employment. In South Lakes, the area that houses the majority of the Lake District National Park, there are less than 300 unemployed claimants.

It is also projected that the working population (16-64) will shrink by between 1,500-2,000 pa by 2030. Your evidence, via the last Cumbria Tourism Business Performance Survey, demonstrates that the recruitment issue is becoming increasingly urgent with 77% of respondents stating recruitment is a problem and retention an issue for 48%.

The Migratory Advisory Committee, which is advising Government, recently recommended pilots of special visas for ‘remote areas’, something Cumbria Tourism has been calling for since 2017.

To strengthen its voice further Cumbria Tourism has now taken up a place alongside national bodies including UK Hospitality, UKinbound, The Tourism Alliance, ABTA and ETOA and is working with them to ensure the tourism sector’s needs in terms of the forthcoming Policy and Cumbria’s special case is understood and fully considered.

Last week Cumbria Tourism members met with Westmorland and Lonsdale MP, Tim Farron, to seek his continued support in helping make the case with Government that reducing the ability for EU nationals to work and settle where would cause major issues,  limiting businesses who could otherwise expand.

Cumbria Tourism continues to be in close communication with VisitBritain to monitor the situation surrounding Coronavirus. It is clearly a fast-moving situation and, alongside other north west Destination Management Organisations, we are working together to understand how this may be affecting/affect your business.

To find out more, we have produced an easy to complete online survey. Your support in completing a few simple questions will provide us with the evidence we require to share the latest information from Cumbria to VisitBritain and other government bodies.

  1. Take Survey

Lamont Pridmore says there are big savings to be made

One of Cumbria’s leading accountancy firms Lamont Pridmore is calling on individuals to review their investment and pension plans to make sure they are making the most of the opportunities on offer.

As the country approaches the end of the tax year on 5 April 2020, savers must take full advantage of the allowances and reliefs on offer.

A wide range of tax-free allowances are available, including the £2,000 dividend allowance, the £12,000 capital gains tax annual exemption, £40,000 annual pension limit and the £20,000 ISA savings allowance.

The full list of reliefs and allowances is dauntingly huge and optimising the use of these allowances is fraught with complexity and opportunities to make errors.

Depending on an individual’s circumstances, it can be worth either bringing forward or deferring dividend payments from a company to make the best use of the dividend allowance this year and next year.

Similarly, deciding which tax year in which to dispose of an asset that is subject to capital gains tax can make a big difference to the overall tax rate.

There is also a wide range of allowances relating to pensions and savings that can further optimise a person’s tax position, as well as specialist reliefs for married couples.

In particular, individuals can save up to £40,000 a year towards their pension tax-free, but many fail to realise that unused allowances in previous years can be carried forward so that more can be saved in a single year.

Graham Lamont, Chief Executive at Lamont Pridmore, said: “At this time of year we all think about our New Year’s resolutions, but It is also a good time to start planning your tax affairs before the end of the tax year on 5 April.

“An obvious tax planning point for most individuals would be to maximise their ISA allowances for the 2018/19 tax year, which currently sits at £20,000 per person.

Chris Lamont, a Partner at Lamont Pridmore, added: “There is a myriad of reliefs available to taxpayers to help them maximise their income each year and with a Budget just around the corner, the Government is likely to announce several changes that could make certain forms of saving more lucrative.

“That is why it makes sense to seek out professional guidance before the end of the tax year and have your finances reviewed.”