We have called on Government Ministers to take urgent action to ensure that the latest post-Brexit immigration proposals will not damage the county’s £2.9billion tourism sector.

The Government’s Migration Advisory Committee has recommended new restrictions for low-skilled migrant workers when the UK leaves the European Union next Spring. However, the recommendations have sparked renewed concern from businesses locally about the potential impact on catering and hospitality businesses.

Our research clearly demonstrates that due to the seasonal spikes of visitors, many hospitality businesses require a unique mix of labour – including both overseas workers and local employees – to fill the labour gaps throughout the year.

In our role as the county’s official Destination Management Organisation, Cumbria Tourism has urged to Tourism Minister Michael Ellis and all six of the county’s MPs to support its calls and ensure they are heard at the highest level. This has prompted Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron to write to further Government Ministers including the Home Secretary, the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union and the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “If implemented, this policy has the potential to compromise the growth of our £2.9billion tourism sector and destabilise the county’s economy as a whole. Cumbria’s population is less than half a million and aging fast, which means there is a limit on the number of eligible working age people. The current seasonal intensity also adds to the recruitment challenge. This means that European workers are an important asset here in Cumbria, so we are deeply concerned by recommendations that appear to make it harder for ‘low skill’ EU nationals to enter and support our tourism sector.

“It has been suggested that agriculture workers are exempt from these latest proposals and we are urging the Government to adopt a similar approach with hospitality and tourism. This would ensure continued easy access to migrant workers and prevent the introduction of barriers which could hinder applications and threaten Cumbria’s economic productivity.”

We will continue calling for reassurance on these important issues with high-level policy and decision-makers and are grateful to our local MPs in helping support and defend our local tourism industry.”

Cumbria Tourism’s ‘health check’ of businesses across the sector is also helping to gather more concrete evidence to help strengthen the argument against the new immigration proposals. There is still time for business to complete the organisation’s Business Performance Survey, which asks specific questions about Brexit and potential staffing issues, giving individual businesses the chance to comment anonymously about their individual challenges.

With hot topics like Brexit, recruitment and profit margins all high on the agenda, it’s more important than ever that businesses complete Cumbria Tourism’s new survey capturing the current successes and challenges facing the county’s £2.9 billion tourism sector.

The Tourism Business ‘Health Check’ being carried out in association with Lamont Pridmore, aims to provide a snapshot of how the industry is performing by giving tourism businesses the chance to comment anonymously on the issues and trends affecting trade. As the county’s official Destination Management Organisation, Cumbria Tourism has been tracking this information for a number of years and it continues to be a vital source of data.

This latest ‘health check’ focuses on the last six months (April-September 2018) and the responses collected will be used to benchmark the county’s long-term performance. This means Cumbria Tourism can identify both ongoing and emerging issues. It can also continue highlighting the right issues with both national and regional policy-makers to promote a stronger visitor economy.

In recent months, this high-profile influencing has included meetings with the Tourism Minister, the Transport Minister, the Home Office and the Minister responsible for the Northern Powerhouse project, as well as the county’s six MPs, VisitEngland and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Cumbria Tourism has also used evidence gathered directly from businesses to successfully lobby for a £285,000 marketing campaign funded by the rail industry.

Gill Haigh, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, adds, “We are here to support both individual tourism businesses and the county’s £2.9billion visitor economy as a whole. So, by taking a few moments to let us know how their business is doing, every participant is contributing to a valuable source of data. In turn, this first-hand evidence helps us to keep up the pressure on issues around funding, support and future strategy at the highest levels and to focus our resources on the issues that matter most.

She adds, “The survey is quick, easy to complete. It’s also anonymous, so responses won’t be attributed to an individual or business.”

For the first time, Cumbria Tourism has teamed up with one of the North West’s leading firms of accountants, tax and business advisors, Lamont Pridmore, to support the research.

Chief Executive of Lamont Pridmore, Graham Lamont, says, “To make the best business decisions you need up to date information and so we are delighted to support Cumbria Tourism’s Business Performance Survey.  Regular business-based research enables Cumbria Tourism to evidence the effects of national policies and lobby for change and increased support, while ensuring their own strategies and services continue to ensure the growth of the sector.  At Lamont Pridmore, we work hard to understand the wants and aspirations of our clients and we regularly use research to ensure we develop the products and services they require.”

ANY tourism or hospitality business based in Cumbria can make their voice heard by following the link and completing a series of short questions. It’s also available on Cumbria Tourism’s website: www.cumbriatourism.org/what-we-do/research/

Cumbria Tourism’s comprehensive research function is one of the key activities which sets it apart as Cumbria’s official Destination Management Organisation. As well as the Business Performance Survey, other regular analysis carried by Cumbria Tourism’s research team includes monthly occupancy surveys, county-wide visitor surveys, regular analysis of accommodation stock and data collection from visitor attractions.

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

Cumbria Tourism is inviting businesses in the north of the county to get involved in a new project to help them access three key international travel markets.

Two National Trails – Hadrian’s Wall and the Pennine Way – will both be an integral part of ‘England’s Great Walking Trails’. Funded through Visit England’s £40 million Discover England Fund, this exciting new initiative is aimed at promoting seven of England’s National Trails to walkers from Germany, the Netherlands and the USA.

As Cumbria’s official Destination Management Organisation, Cumbria Tourism has teamed up with Marketing Peak District and Derbyshire to ensure the county receives maximum exposure from this showpiece national project.

Cumbria Tourism will also be working in conjunction with Northumberland Tourism on training and business support in the coming months. Works gets underway with a series of free workshops in Alston, Appleby and Carlisle in October and November – aimed at businesses close to either the Hadrian’s Wall National Trail or the northern part of the Pennine Way National Trail.

The project will help develop walking itineraries that take visitors off the beaten track, joining up with tour operators and UK specialist walking holiday companies. But the walk is only half of the experience, as the itineraries will highlight places to visit, eat, drink and stay along the way.

Sales and Marketing Manager at Cumbria Tourism, Sue Clarke, says, “This is a fantastic opportunity for tourism business not only to access free training to ensure they’re ready to welcome international visitors, but also to work with overseas tour operators to increase sales by looking at pricing, lead-in times and booking expectations.

“Gaining a competitive edge is more important than ever, so businesses will learn more about the importance of being on a National Trail and look at the specific expectations of potential customers from Germany, the Netherlands and the USA.”


Full details of the workshops in Cumbria include:

  • Alston – Tuesday 9 October at South Tynedale Railway Discovery Centre (1-4pm)
  • Appleby – Thursday 1 November at The Appleby Hub (1-4pm)
  • Carlisle – Tuesday 13 November at Carlisle Airport (1-4pm)


To book onto a free workshop, contact Francine Bult on campaigns@cumbriatourism.org

The Lake District’s status as one of the most mouth-watering foodie destinations in the UK has been boosted this week with the addition of an extra Michelin star – bringing Cumbria’s tally to five.

Cumbria is now the home of four restaurants which hold the prestigious Michelin star status.

Rogan & Co in Cartmel – run by Simon Rogan of the nearby L’Enclume, was awarded a one-star rating which sees it join the exclusive club of Cumbrian restaurants which all share the glowing seal of approval by the team behind the internationally-respected 2019 Michelin Guide.

Furthermore, L’Enclume itself continues to boast two stars, having been honoured by the Michelin Guide every year since 2005 when the business was just three years old. Simon’s London restaurant Roganic was also awarded a Michelin star.

The Forest Side at Grasmere and Gilpin Hotel & Lake House in Windermere have both retained their one-star status.

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.

Meanwhile, in Michelin’s new Bib Gourmand awards, the family-owned Dog & Gun Inn at Skelton was revealed as a winner on Friday September 28. Judges cited its “delicious takes on hearty pub classics which are elevated to new heights” for their decision to award the team a “Bib”, named after Bibendum – the Michelin Man.

Gill Haigh, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, said: “The latest announcements by the team at the Michelin guide once again demonstrates just how much choice our visitors and residents have when it comes to luxury dining. With such a concentration of food excellence right across the county, it’s little wonder that the Lake District, Cumbria is just as well-respected for its food and drink offering as it is for adventure, culture and relaxation.”

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, we will be launching our annual Food and Drink Guide this autumn. Introduced by Hawkshead Relish Director and co-owner, Maria Whitehead, MBE, the 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 those planning a visit.

Gill Haigh continued, “As well as our quality restaurants, Cumbria is also famous for stunning original produce like Cumberland sausage, sticky toffee pudding, Herdwick Lamb, Grasmere Gingerbread and of course, Kendal Mint Cake. Our forthcoming Food and Drink Guide is a staple publication for the millions of visitors coming to Cumbria each year and we’re proud to produce this essential guide with our members.”

Cumbria Tourism is throwing its weight behind a brand-new regional wedding fair to promote the Lake District as the ultimate romantic destination to tie the knot – and to bring the area’s wedding venues and suppliers together under one roof for the first time.

The county’s Official Destination Management Organisation will be an official partner for the newly created Lake District Wedding Fair, which will take place in the Exhibition Hall at the J36 Rural Auction Centre near Kendal on 23 and 24 February 2019.

Weddings are an important part of Cumbria’s £2.9billion tourism sector, but until now, there hasn’t been one single location where prospective brides and grooms can meet a full range of suppliers and hotel wedding co-ordinators face-to-face.

Organised by event and show professional Nick Hood and experienced wedding organisers Joe and Agata Nichols, the team are taking a collaborative approach with support from partners across the region including Cumbria Tourism.

Show Co-ordinator Nick Hood says, “The Lake District is now a famous wedding destination, with brides and grooms travelling from near and far to get married here. The Lake District Wedding Fair will be a natural place to come and meet the best of the region’s venues and wedding suppliers in one space. Beautifully laid out and organised to best reflect what today’s brides are looking for, The Lake District Wedding Fair will welcome exhibitors from across the region to promote their expertise to couples and their families, as they start to plan their weddings.”

Joe Nichols continues, “It’s no surprise The Lake District is host to so many nuptials each year as it is one of the country’s most scenic and inspiring wedding destinations. But never before has one event given couples the chance to meet all of the areas wedding professionals in one place. The fair will not only give couples the chance to discuss their requirements face to face with suppliers of all areas of the wedding sector, but we will also offer a range of unique features aimed to inspire couples and support them with planning their day.”

Winner of Cumbria Tourism’s Wedding Venue of the Year – the Broadoaks Country House Hotel in Windermere – was one of the first to snap up an exhibition stand at the event. It has already been joined by other renowned bridal venues from across Cumbria, including Armathwaite Hall near Keswick, Askham Hall in the Eden Valley and Kendal’s Castle Green Hotel.

There will also be a wide range of suppliers, from bridalwear, cakes and flowers to photography, entertainment and specialist vehicle hire, along with a professional catwalk fashion show.

Cumbria Tourism’s Head of Marketing and Sales, Rachel Tyson, says, “We’re excited about the prospect of a new event showcasing this magical place as the ultimate wedding destination. When it comes to weddings, Cumbria has it all; whether that’s a vow renewal with a sea view, a civil ceremony overlooking a lake or a dramatic reception set against stunning mountain scenery.

“And of course, it’s not just about one day either. Hen and stag dos, mini-moons and honeymoons all provide new opportunities for businesses. Many couples who marry here will also continue to return to the same venue year after year, to reminisce on their special day – so our wedding venues genuinely can inspire guests for life.”

For more information about exhibiting or visiting the Lake District Wedding Fair, contact: www.lakedistrictweddingfair.co.uk.

Or speak to the organisers on 015394 47692 / info@lakedistrictweddingfair.co.uk

One of Ireland’s best-known travel writers and broadcasters has joined Cumbria Tourism, to head up a major project helping attract international visitors to World Heritage Sites across the North of England.

As part of the UK Government’s £40 million Discover England Fund, Tourism Minister Michael Ellis confirmed exciting new plans for Cumbria Tourism to lead the ‘Northern World Heritage Collection’ earlier this summer.

The new £250,000 project will tell the story of England’s culture and heritage through the North’s outstanding UNESCO World Heritage Sites and will enable Cumbrian businesses to better target both groups and independent travellers from the USA and Ireland. So, it’s fitting that Irishman Fionn Davenport has been appointed to take on the role.

Most recently Fionn has worked on two other Discover England Fund projects; one in conjunction with Marketing Manchester and a second targeting American visitors in the South of England.

As an experienced Lonely Planet writer, as well as a regular presence in the travel pages of Irish newspapers, he has a wealth of experience in travel journalism and has written guidebooks inspiring people to explore multiple destinations – from his native country to Vietnam. He’s also been a regular fixture on Ireland’s RTE Radio 1, sharing travel advice with the national radio station’s 1.4 million listeners.

Fionn’s latest role at Cumbria Tourism will involve working with fellow Northern World Heritage sites such as Liverpool and Durham, surrounding businesses and other tourism bodies over the next 6 months to help attract and welcome American and Irish visitors.

Activity will include business and itinerary development, training and trade shows, alongside marketing, online content, film and PR.  It will also involve working alongside tour operators and agents to help visitors book their trips to multiple World Heritage sites across the North quickly and easily.

Fionn says, “I’m absolutely thrilled to be a part of this hugely exciting project. Helping to raise awareness of Northern England’s rich cultural and natural patrimony is a privilege and something that I’m very proud to be associated with. I very much look forward to getting stuck in and working with all of relevant partners to bring more international visitors to this part of the country – especially those from my native Ireland!”

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, adds, “We are thrilled to welcome a travel expert of Fionn’s calibre to the team, to help both Cumbria and our Northern neighbours raise their profile on the global stage. For international visitors, World Heritage status has huge resonance and it’s vital that we work collaboratively with other key locations from across the North of England to attract higher-spending overseas tourists who want to tick World Heritage sites like Hadrian’s Wall and the Lake District off their list.”

Cumbria Tourism members can now access a range of services to help them lower their utilities bills and reduce energy usage.

Inspired Energy plc is one of the UK’s leading energy consultancies, working with corporate and SME businesses to optimise the value of every pound spent on utilities. This is achieved through a range of specialist solutions aimed at lowering bills and protecting businesses against rising energy costs and changes in legislation.

Ben Beetham, Head of Partnerships at Inspired Energy plc, said: “We are delighted to be a strategic partner with Cumbria Tourism, giving us an increased foothold within the businesses and organisations who share Cumbria Tourism’s goals.

“Our offering will further enhance the services and benefits that Cumbria Tourism provide to their members. As a market leader in the energy industry, our priority is to help businesses operating in Cumbria solve a range of utility, cost and carbon challenges. By working with us, you gain access to our specialist teams that are highly experienced in dealing with the energy spend demands of your business.”

Regardless of how much energy you use, our team of energy experts can provide a bespoke energy service which meets your specific needs. Working across all utilities, including electricity, gas, water and renewables, we will relieve you of the burden of managing the many utility cost pressures confronting your business. This will leave you free to focus on running your organisation as profitably and effectively as possible.

Cumbria Tourism is the official Tourist Board for the Lake District, Cumbria –   membership represents 2,500 tourism dependent businesses.

For more information on Inspired Energy’s Strategic Partnership visit www.cumbriatourism.org/who-we-are/strategic-partners/inspired-energy

Cumbria Tourism has been given the go-ahead to co-ordinate a £285,000 marketing campaign to show potential visitors that the Lake District, Cumbria, is open and accessible by public transport.

The high-impact marketing campaign funded by the rail industry aims to restore confidence following the recent, highly-publicised issues with train services into the county.

Our vigorous calls for a campaign have been supported by a range of partners, including: Cumbria County Council, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), local MPs Tim Farron, John Woodcock and Trudy Harrison, South Lakeland District Council, Transport for the North and Community Rail Partnerships within the county.

It will not only focus on attracting people back onto the Lakes Line but will also encourage people to make better use of links to the Furness Line, the Cumbrian Coastal Line and mainline train services at Carlisle, Penrith and Oxenholme. Highlighting the wider network of buses and scheduled boat services will be additional key messages.

Details are currently being finalised, but the campaign will get underway later this autumn, subject to full resumption of services. It will include advertising at key regional railway stations, Manchester Airport and the London Underground, as well as VOD (video on demand) on ITV Hub and Sky.

We will also be managing a wide variety of digital marketing through social media (such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat), alongside a PR campaign targeting national journalists and influencers.

The new campaign will help encourage people to book holidays through the GoLakes visitor website and will build on the legacy of the GoLakes Travel and ‘See More’ sustainable travel projects, which Cumbria Tourism helped to co-ordinate.

The Cumbria Tourism team will be working closely with both Northern and local Community Rail Partnerships to develop sustainable travel content and itineraries over the coming weeks.

Our Head of Marketing and Sales, Rachel Tyson, says, “It’s been a challenging period for travellers but as we head towards the traditionally quieter part of the tourism season, we want to inspire people to visit and encourage them to leave the car at home and incorporate leisurely experiences by rail, bus and boat into breaks away in our special part of the world.”

Craig Harrop, Regional Director at Northern Rail says, “Following the disruption to rail services earlier in 2018, Northern is working closely with Cumbria Tourism on this campaign to attract as many visitors as possible to the region. We are now running a full timetable across Cumbria and both reliability and punctuality has significantly improved in recent weeks. As we head into the autumn, visitors and residents of Cumbria will feel they can once again rely on their train services and we look forward to welcoming them onboard.”

Welcoming the announcement, South Lakes MP Tim Farron added, “Local businesses took a massive hit over the summer due to the chaos on the railways. So today’s news that the rail industry has agreed to fund a marketing campaign is to be massively welcomed and will help us send out a loud and clear message that Cumbria is open for business. It was great to work with Cumbria Tourism’s Managing Director Gill Haigh over the past few months to secure this money – thank you to everyone at Cumbria Tourism, as well as politicians from across the county who helped us make the case.”

A competition has been launched to find a photograph that captures both the spirit and beauty of Cumbria, to grace the cover of the 2019 edition of ‘The Lake District, Cumbria Holiday Guide’.

120,000 copies of the guide will be printed and distributed across the UK by Cumbria Tourism – the county’s official Destination Management Organisation – giving amateur photographers a great opportunity to have their snap seen by thousands of people nationwide, as well as countless more online.

The Lake District basked in months of glorious sunshine earlier this summer – making 2018 picture-perfect for holiday snaps of the UK’s newest World Heritage Site.

If you’ve taken a photograph you want to share with the world, send it in to Cumbria Tourism with details of why for you it’s #theplacetobe. If you win, we’ll print your story in the glossy guide itself, as well as online at www.golakes.co.uk.

Perhaps you’ve taken a photo from high above the clouds after conquering one of The Lake District’s highest mountains, or caught a great action shot during an adrenaline-fuelled trip to the UK’s adventure capital? From landscape shots to images that perfectly capture the spirit of The Lake District, Cumbria’s towns and villages, the possibilities are endless.

The winning entry of last year’s competition was a photo of Friars Crag at Derwentwater, taken by Dave Brown, who says, “Cumbria has allowed myself and my disabled wife to take the time to recharge and get out and about amongst beautiful relaxing scenery. Being mobility scooter-bound means my wife is restricted to where she can get to see. This was one of our very first walks together and as such will always have a big place in our hearts.”

Cumbria Tourism’s Head of Marketing and Sales, Rachel Tyson, says, “We are looking for exceptional photographs and entrants from all over the world are welcome. Maybe you’ve taken a perfect photo yourself, or perhaps you’ve seen a great shot taken by a friend or family member and you think they should enter it. We look forward to receiving your entries; and good luck!”

With beautiful shots of Buttermere, Honister Pass and Derwentwater winning the contest over the last four years, the bar has been set very high – and the clock is ticking as the deadline for entries looms.

Choosing the winner will be no easy task for the judges though. In previous years the standard of entries has been so high the team has had to burn the midnight oil to come to a final decision. This year, the task ahead is expected to be no different.

If you have a photo that’s got what it takes to promote The Lake District, Cumbria, to the UK, email it to campaigns@cumbriatourism.org by 11.59pm on Sunday 23 September along with the following information:

  • Where your image was taken.
  • Why is Cumbria #theplacetobe? Let us know why the image means so much to you and why you think it deserves to be on the front cover of the 2019 holiday guide.
  • Your name, email address, location & age.

Full terms & conditions are at the bottom of this page on the GoLakes website. Cumbria Tourism does ask that entrants are not professional photographers. For the purposes of this competition, a professional photographer will be considered somebody who makes more than half their annual income for the sale of their images.