Cumbria Tourism has today selected respected tourism leader Jim Walker as its new Chairman, following news that long-term Chairman Eric Robson has stepped into the honorary role of President.

The county’s official Destination Management Organisation confirmed the appointment at today’s meeting of its Executive Board in Staveley. Board members also elected the Langdale Hotel and Spa’s Director of Sales & Marketing, Dan Visser, as the organisation’s new Vice Chairman.

Between them they have more than six decades of experience working in Cumbria’s £3billion hospitality and tourism sector.

Appleby-based Jim Walker has a breadth of senior management experience in a range of public and private sector roles, with former jobs including Chief Executive of Lake District Estates and Head of Cultural & Tourism Services at South Lakeland District Council. A fellow of the Tourism Society, he is already Chairman of Eden Tourism Network and the North Lakes China Forum.

Jim has also been an enthusiastic supporter of Cumbria Tourism for many years, including a stint as the organisation’s Interim Managing Director in 2017.

He comments, “To be asked to Chair the Executive Board of the lead organisation for Cumbria’s visitor economy – which currently provides one in every 5 jobs in the county – is a great privilege and one which I’m very much looking forward to. Cumbria Tourism’s Board is committed to serving our 2,500 private and public sector members and working closely with our partners to overcome key challenges like Brexit and capitalise on the many opportunities which lie ahead – not least the upcoming Tourism Sector Deal.”

Dan Visser has lived in the Lakes for more than two decades, working in a range of hospitality marketing roles.

He has been with the Langdale Hotel for the past eleven years and is a key part of the Marketing Group for the English Lake District World Heritage Site.

Dan says, “I’m looking forward to taking up this new role and helping to support our £3billion tourism sector in competitive times. I’ve enjoyed being an active Board member and will continue to fly the flag for our industry, working with partners across the private and public sectors to identify new opportunities and ensure we do the best we possibly can for our county.”

Today was also the first meeting for Cumbria Tourism’s newly elected Non-Executive Directors, who will each offer specialist knowledge and expertise to the organisation.

They are: Carl Bevan, Associated British Ports (professional services or supply chain for the tourism industry), Justin Farnan, Lake District Calvert Trust (public relations and communications) and Mike Turner, Treetop Trek (small tourism business operation).


A full list of Executive Board members is available HERE.

Cumbria’s rich and varied heritage has been celebrated at the 35th Hunter Davies Lakeland Book of the Year Awards, with the announcement of Alan Cleaver and Lesley Park’s The Corpse Roads of Cumbria as the 2019 winner. The award – one of the most prestigious of its kind outside London – was presented today (Tuesday 16th July 2019) by the judges at a charity luncheon at Kendal’s Castle Green Hotel.


Alan and Lesley, who also received the Latitude Press Prize for Illustration and Presentation at the event, bring to life a fascinating part of the county’s history. Corpse roads, the paths trodden by those transporting the dead across the countryside to their place of burial, still leave their mark upon the landscape today but Alan’s book brings them, and the stories they tell vividly to life.

Chosen from almost 60 entries, all set in or featuring Cumbria and published in the last year, Alan and Lesley’s book was celebrated alongside five other category winners at the luncheon, this year supporting local mental health charity Growing Well.

The judges, author and columnist Hunter Davies OBE, renowned broadcaster and Cumbria Tourism President Eric Robson and BBC newscaster, presenter and author Fiona Armstrong, entertained almost 150 guests with their thoughts on the finalists before announcing the winners.

Following the announcement, Alan Cleaver said, “It’s absolutely fantastic to win such an esteemed prize, especially given the high calibre of the competition. It’s been an amazing celebration here today and winning really is the icing on the cake.”

Lesley Park added “We’d like to thank all of the judges and sponsors who help make these awards happen every year, there’s such a variety of topics showcased here and it’s truly fantastic to see them all recognised by a prestigious and long-running event – we can’t believe we won!”

Gill Haigh, Cumbria Tourism MD, commented: “Cumbria Tourism is delighted to be a long-term supporter of the Lakeland Book of the Year Awards, which every year showcase the full range and quality of writing inspired by our fantastic county. I am always impressed by the talent and dedication of all those who enter, and I never fail to learn something new! Alan’s book is a worthy winner and I can’t wait to take my family on some new adventures exploring Cumbria’s corpse roads and discovering more about their unique and fascinating history.”


The Hunter Davies Lakeland Book of the Year 2019

The Corpse Roads of Cumbria by Alan Cleaver and Lesley Park


Category Winners

The Bookends Prize for Literature and Poetry

This Place I Know: An Anthology of Cumbrian Poetry edited by Kerry Darbishire, Kim Moore and Liz Nutall


The Latitude Press Prize for Illustration and Presentation

The Corpse Roads of Cumbria by Alan Cleaver and Lesley Park


The Zeffirellis Prize for People and Business

Bruffam: Henry, First Lord Brougham & Vaux 1778-1868 by David Crackenthorpe and Gin, Cake and Rucksacks by Beth Pipe and Karen Guttridge


The Bill Rollinson Prize for Landscape and Tradition

The Debatable Land: The Lost World Between Scotland and England by Graham Robb


The Gilpin Hotel and Lake House Prize for Fiction

Morph by Dr Jill Clough


The Striding Edge Prize for Guides and Places

The Little Book of Cumbria by David Ramshaw


Cumbria Tourism provides administration and PR support to the Lakeland Book of the Year, which is organised by a team of external organisers and judges.


The much-appreciated partnership with James Cropper plc, based in Kendal, continued for this year’s awards. The association is particularly appropriate, as virtually all hard-backed books published in the UK are bound using paper produced by James Cropper here in Cumbria. In addition to financial assistance, James Cropper provided professional advice and, of course, all printed material required for the event was produced on their paper.

The Government’s announcement of a new Tourism Sector Deal is a real game-changer, according to Cumbria Tourism.

The county’s official Destination Management Organisation (DMO) says Cumbria can now go ahead and bid to become a ‘Tourism Zone’ – potentially unlocking major investment and strategic policy support for the county’s tourism industry.

An official Tourism Sector Deal puts tourism at the top of the Government’s national policy agenda, with the ambition of driving economic growth and increasing productivity. A select number of newly-created ‘Tourism Zones’ across the country will also play a vital part in helping to improve skills and connectivity, as well as aiming to enhance the visitor experience and helping to extend the annual tourism season.

A competitive process will begin shortly to choose which destinations become ‘Tourism Zones’. There is already a joined-up, county-wide approach being developed by Cumbria Tourism, Cumbria County Council, the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP) and the Lake District National Park to secure the new status.

The news comes less than a day after Cumbria Tourism welcomed high-level speakers from both the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and VisitBritain to its Annual General Meeting (AGM) near Penrith. Last night also saw a special networking event for the keynote speakers with key partners and leading tourism operators.

 Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says,Make no mistake, this is a real game-changer. With tourism now worth £3billion to Cumbria’s economy, we have been lobbying vigorously for an official tourism Sector Deal for the past 18 months and firmly believe that Cumbria is the right location for a new Tourism Zone.

 “The Sector Deal focus is about increasing productivity, which fits perfectly with Cumbria Tourism’s existing strategy to grow the value of tourism through higher-spending visitors and to market the county as an all year round destination. It also complements our ongoing ‘attract and disperse’ policy, which draws on the strength of the Lake District brand to attract staying visitors who want to discover and explore the wider county.

 “Being a Tourism Zone would open up great opportunities to further develop the value of Cumbria’s tourism industry, as well as helping us to tackle some of the challenges businesses are facing – not least around skills and labour supply, travel and transport, housing and digital connectivity. Our focus now is working collaboratively with partners to put forward Cumbria’s case and to keep up the pressure on key national decision-makers.”

Nigel Wilkinson, Chair of Cumbria LEP’s Visitor Economy Sector Panel comments, “We very much welcome the announcement of the Tourism Sector Deal, which will support Cumbria LEP (CLEP) and our partners to deliver the growth ambition that we have outlined in our Local Industrial Strategy. We attract 47 million visits per year and are committed to growing the economic benefits from our tourism sector and extending the visitor experience to all parts of Cumbria, as we have an excellent offer in place. We particularly welcome the Tourism Zone pilots and believe that Cumbria is ideally placed to become one, given our recent growth and exceptional visitor offer.”

 Councillor David Southward, from Cumbria County Council, says, “We all recognise the value of the tourism sector to the Cumbrian economy.  A thriving visitor economy supports and underpins thriving communities and we therefore welcome the Government’s announcement on the Tourism Sector Deal.  We look forward to working with local partners in the development of proposals for a Tourism Zone.”

Steve Ratcliffe the Lake District National Park’s Director of Sustainable Development adds,Given the importance of the visitor economy to the Lake District and Cumbria we are delighted by the Sector Deal announcement. The Lake District National Park is a Park for all and we’ll continue to work towards ensuring it is accessible and that visitors can move around this UNESCO World Heritage Site sustainably. We are already committed to working with Cumbria Tourism, the Cumbria LEP and other partners in bidding for a Tourism Zone to cover the Lake District and Cumbria.”

Cumbria Tourism’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) has today officially marked a number of changes to its Executive Board and Presidency.

Standing down, Cumbria Tourism’s long-standing President, Lord Inglewood, was recognised at the AGM for his invaluable support of the county’s Destination Management Organisation over the past 15 years.

Lord Inglewood, who has held a number of ministerial positions during his career, has used his extensive regional and national connections to support and lobby on tourism issues at the highest level. Currently Chairman of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), he has confirmed his continued commitment to Cumbria Tourism, advocating on behalf of the county’s visitor economy and supporting the industry on the national stage.

Lord Inglewood’s successor as President will be renowned broadcaster and author Eric Robson. Eric is well equipped to take on this important honorary role for the body that oversees the county’s £3billion visitor economy, having been a member of Cumbria Tourism Executive Board since 2002 – much of that time as Chairman. He is credited for helping to guide Cumbria Tourism through some key challenges including the impact of Storm Desmond in 2015.

Cumbria Tourism’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) also sees the appointment of three new Non-Executive Directors, who will offer specialist knowledge and expertise to the organisation in three key areas; small business operation, professional services, and PR and communications.

Following a rigorous application process, today’s AGM at Roundthorn Country House Hotel near Penrith formally ratified the appointment of three experienced and commercially minded Non-Executive Directors:

  • Carl Bevan, Associated British Ports (ABP) Ports – Professional services or supply chain for the tourism industry
  • Justin Farnan, Lake District Calvert Trust Public relations and communications
  • Mike Turner, Treetop TrekSmall tourism business operation


Each newly appointed Non-Executive Director will hold office for a term of three years; they will then retire and be eligible for re-election for a maximum of 3 terms.

The changes also see the end of a 12 year tenure on Cumbria Tourism’s Executive Board for Haydn Spedding, who is stepping down as a Non-Executive Director.  An active long-term advocate for Cumbria’s tourism sector, and one of Colliers’ most successful members of their staff, Haydn has been marketing hotels, guesthouses and self-catering businesses in the county for the past 30 years.

Lord Inglewood says, “It has been my great honour and privilege to serve as President of Cumbria Tourism. Although I have taken the personal decision to step down from the role, I firmly believe my successor Eric Robson will do an outstanding job.

“Through my work as Chairman of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, I will continue to support the industry and will take every opportunity to advocate and support Cumbria’s diverse tourism sector and all the hardworking businesses that contribute to its continuing success.”  

Eric Robson comments, “I am proud to have been Chairman and am looking forward to the opportunities and challenges of my new role. I am inheriting the Presidency of one of the most successful Destination Management Organisations in Britain and I am committed to using my national broadcasting and political contacts to support its excellent team to gain even greater profile and success.”

Haydn Spedding says, “Cumbria Tourism does a great job on behalf of our industry and although I feel it is the right time for me personally to step down, I am absolutely committed to supporting the organisation and will continue to help the Executive Board in any way. The county’s £3billion tourism industry is in good shape and I am sure there is plenty more success to come.”

Cumbria Tourism’s Vice Chairman, Jim Walker, adds, “Tourism in Cumbria, although incredibly successful, requires the strongest possible team at Board and President level to steer the industry through whatever lies ahead and serve our member businesses well. We must continue to evolve and meet these challenges. I firmly believe with these new appointments – and an extremely strong and capable staff team and Managing Director – we are now very well placed to do this.”

Cumbria Tourism’s new-look Executive Board will select a new Chairperson to replace Eric Robson when they meet for the first time next month.

A group of international media with a combined audience of more than 6.5million people have been visiting Cumbria this week, thanks to a trip arranged by Cumbria Tourism and VisitBritain.

The five-day visit included journalists and social media influencers from across the globe, including the USA, China, Australia, Russia, South Korea, the Netherlands, Italy and Norway.

It was all arranged to celebrate the 70th anniversary of National Parks, with the visitors experiencing a wide range of Cumbrian attractions and internationally branded experiences here in Cumbria before moving on to the Peak District.

Almost 20 tourism businesses spanning the Eden Valley, Keswick and Borrowdale, and South and Central Lakes helped to host the visitors on their whistle-stop tour to give them a taste of the Cumbrian welcome on offer for international visitors.

The group also took in key locations such as Castlerigg Stone Circle, the Ullswater Way and Wordsworth’s Grasmere, as well as sampling a variety of authentic local produce along the way.

At the same time, Saudi TV presenter and social media influencer Ali Al Meshaal was also exploring Cumbria this week to create inspirational social media and video content in a second complementary trip also arranged by VisitBritain and Cumbria Tourism.

Cumbria Tourism’s PR & Communications Manager, Heather Sewell, says, “Our day-to-day work with VisitBritain to develop relationships with influential media is a vital part of what we do. Showcasing the very best of what the county has to offer to journalists and influencers means we can promote positive messages about the Lake District, Cumbria, out to even wider audiences and highlight the wide variety of attractions and experiences we can offer. This group included some prestigious travel writers and it was fantastic to welcome them here to see the region first-hand.” 

Targeting both established and new international markets is very important for us as a business,” says Tracey Cragg from Lakeside Hotel & Spa. “We are thrilled to host this group. In competitive times, it is so important that we work together as an industry to keep raising the profile of the Lake District overseas and showcase the very best of what our area has to offer to overseas visitors.”

Jim Lowther – owner of Lowther Castle – also helped host the visit and gave the group a personal tour of the Castle and Gardens. He says, “It was lovely to see such enthusiasm for Lowther and for the Lake District World Heritage Site as a whole. A great visit and many thanks to VisitBritain and especially to Cumbria Tourism for putting it together.”

Almost four hundred guests gathered at Cartmel Racecourse on Wednesday 19 June, to congratulate the winners of Cumbria’s annual tourism ‘Oscars’.

A team of experts whittled down a record-breaking number of entries for the Cumbria Tourism Awards to 47 finalists for the final ceremony, held in association with United Utilities.

The event celebrated the very best of the county’s vibrant £3billion tourism industry and was hosted by comedian, writer and musician Mike Wilkinson.  Among the sixteen awards were two brand new categories: a Makers & Producers Award and an Accessible & Inclusive Tourism Award.

The Cumbria Tourism Awards 2019 winners were:


Accessible & Inclusive Tourism Award Sponsored by Expedia

Lake District Calvert Trust, Keswick WINNER)

Treetop Trek, Windermere (HIGHLY COMMENDED)


Camping, Glamping & Holiday Park of the Year – Sponsored by Natwest Commercial Banking

Castlerigg Hall Caravan, Camping and Glamping Park, Keswick (WINNER)


Ethical, Responsible & Sustainable Tourism Award Sponsored by University of Cumbria

The Quiet Site, Ullswater (WINNER)


B&B & Guest House of the Year Sponsored by Lamont Pridmore

Haven Cottage, Ambleside (WINNER)


Experience of the Year Award Sponsored by Carlisle Lake District Airport

CBA Events @ Graythwaite (WINNER)


Large Hotel of the Year – Sponsored by Christie & Co.

Another Place, The Lake, Ullswater (WINNER)


Large Visitor Attraction of the Year Sponsored by H&H Reeds

Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway (WINNER)


New Tourism Business Award Sponsored by Thomson Hayton Winkley

The Black Bull, Sedbergh (WINNER)

1692 Wasdale, Gosforth (HIGHLY COMMENDED)


Makers & Producers Award

Grasmere Gingerbread®, Grasmere (WINNER)


Pub of the Year  

The Black Swan, Ravenstonedale (WINNER)


Self-Catering Accommodation of the Year Sponsored by Out of Eden

The Lingholm Estate, Portinscale (WINNER)


Small Hotel of the Year Sponsored by Colliers International

The Regent Hotel, Ambleside (WINNER)


Taste of Cumbria Award – Sponsored by The Cumberland for Business

1863 Restaurant and Rooms, Pooley Bridge (WINNER)


Small Visitor Attraction of the Year Sponsored by Northern

Wordsworth House and Garden, Cockermouth (WINNER)


Wedding Venue of the Year

Cragwood Country House Hotel, Windermere (WINNER)


The Sheila Hensman Award for Outstanding Contribution to Excellence

Jake Winter, Lyzzick Hall Hotel, Keswick (WINNER)


Many of the winners now also have the opportunity represent the county nationally at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence in 2020.

The evening was rounded off with an additional honour for Stephen Broughton, who is this year’s recipient of the ‘Bernard Gooch Tourism Personality of the Year Award

 Involved in Mountain Goat since the 1990s, Stephen later bought the company and became its Managing Director.  He and Sir Norman Stoller later bought Lindeth Howe hotel. Stephen has also been involved with the Japan Forum, Cumbria Tourism and the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, working tirelessly for the area throughout the UK and flying the flag for the county in Japan, China and the USA.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “Our world-class landscape and cultural heritage is world renowned, proudly matched by world class product.  Last year the county’s tourism industry contributed a staggering £3billion to the county’s economy and supported around 65,000 jobs – that’s around 20% of the county’s total employment.

 “Not only that, but the industry also provides an incredible offer for our visitors – both national and international – and contributes significantly to what makes it an incredible place for us and others to live, work, study and invest in. Last night was a showcase and celebration of not just the best of Cumbria but easily some of the best the nation has to offer.

“With a record-breaking number of entries, competition for this year’s Cumbria Tourism Awards has been immense and the quality utterly jaw dropping.  Our thriving tourism businesses have again showed the sheer range, quality and innovation on offer in the county and this event reinforces the hard work and dedication shown by tourism businesses who deliver world class experiences to millions of visitors day in, day out. We should be tremendously proud of not only our award-winners, but of all of the finalists!”

Cumbria Tourism and the industry is fortunate to have a wide range of supporters and would particularly like to thank all of its generous sponsors for making the event possible.

They include headline sponsor United Utilities, as well as the category sponsors, including:  Carlisle Lake District Airport, Christie & Co, Colliers International, The Cumberland for Business, Expedia, Lamont Pridmore, NatWest Commercial Banking, Northern, Out of Eden, University of Cumbria, H&H Reeds, and Thomson Hayton Winkley, plus supporters Booths, Cartmel Racecourse, Campbell and Rowley Corporate Catering, Colourmedia, Heineken, Ambience Venue Styling, CBEN and EWGA Wines.

A newly launched ‘English Lake District India Forum’ to help Cumbrian tourism businesses make the most of the UK’s growing appeal to overseas visitors has been welcoming the CEOs of some of India’s top travel agencies to the county.

The new Forum has been set up by Cumbria Tourism to bring together businesses targeting international visitors from the fast-growing Indian market.

This week’s high-level visit (Tuesday 18 and Wednesday 19 June) coincides not only with the launch of the Forum, but also celebrates the ICC Cricket World Cup in England and Wales, which is a massive draw for Indian sports fans.

The group includes Chief Executives and Managing Directors from leading travel agencies like Cox & Kings India and KFT Holidays, as well as trade media, airline partner Oman Air and representatives from VisitBritain.

Cumbria Tourism’s renewed India-focus is part of a long-term partnership with Marketing Manchester, who hosted the group for the India Vs Pakistan match at Old Trafford on Sunday, before they headed to Cumbria to explore the wider North West region.

The delegates have been travelling through South and Central Lakes to the Eden Valley to experience key visitor attractions including Gilpin Spice; Windermere Jetty, Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories; Windermere Lake Cruises; Lake District Country Hotels; Mountain Goat; Grasmere Gingerbread and Lowther Castle.

A cricket-themed drinks reception at Storrs Hall also celebrated the Cricket World Cup, including a helping hand from Millom Cricket Club and their Sri Lankan professional, Sameera Sadamal.

A second Indian delegation will travel to Cumbria next Monday 24 June, just ahead of the India Vs West Indies cricket match in Manchester. It will bring India Forum members together with key Indian Destination Management Companies which offer services including tours, travel packages and airport transfers. The aim is to help increase their knowledge of the country outside London and put Cumbria at the centre of their planning decisions for the coming year.

The new India Forum is the culmination of work Cumbria Tourism has been doing with Marketing Manchester in recent months, to help promote the Indian sub-continent and meet with Indian tour operators and travel agents face-to-face.

Cumbria Tourism’s Managing Director Gill Haigh says, “Cumbria has a compelling message for Indian visitors, who are renowned for their love of culture, heritage and the natural landscape. Businesses joining the India Forum will help forge even stronger links with overseas trade contacts and take an active role in encouraging more leisure visitors from the world’s fastest growing economy.

 “Working with Marketing Manchester is also essential, as we join together to unlock new opportunities and promote the wider North West to potential visitors from the Indian sub-continent.”

Sheona Southern, Managing Director of Marketing Manchester says: “India is an incredibly important market in Greater Manchester’s international growth ambitions. The subcontinent is a significant region of growth; responsible for nearly 17million outbound visits a year, with Indian visitors to the UK spending more than £400m in the UK annually.

“As such, it is vital that we work with our partners in the north to make the most of the opportunity that the Indian market presents, and we look forward to further collaboration with Cumbria Tourism’s new India Forum over the coming months and years to do exactly that.”

12 Cumbrian tourism business have already signed up form a Steering Group for the new India forum, including:

  • Dove Cottage & The Wordsworth Trust
  • Gilpin Hotel & Lake House
  • Grasmere Gingerbread
  • Mountain Goat
  • Muncaster Castle
  • Lake District Country Hotels
  • Lake District Estates
  • Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway
  • Storrs Hall
  • The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction
  • Treetop Trek and Treetop Nets
  • Windermere Lake Cruises

Businesses interested in joining the Forum can contact for more information.

Two top tourism officials will meet with businesses at Cumbria Tourism’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Thursday 27 June, to share the Government’s perspective on the opportunities and challenges facing the county’s £3billion tourism industry.

Businesses gathered at Penrith’s Roundthorn Country House Hotel will hear ‘the view from Government’, with both David Martin (Head of Tourism Strategy and Sponsorship at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport) and Tim Jenkins (Policy and Public Affairs Manager at VisitBritain) as headline speakers.

Among the issues under the spotlight will be the Government’s plans for a Tourism Sector Deal and how this relates to Cumbria. The challenges of staff recruitment and skills, Brexit and infrastructure are likely to feature, alongside opportunities to grow productivity and the potential support available for rural tourism businesses.

With up-to-date analysis on the performance and growing economic value of the county’s tourism industry, as well as news on Cumbria Tourism’s national and international marketing and PR work, it is a jam-packed agenda. More than 120 businesses and representatives are expected at the event, which will also see the appointment of three new Non-Executive Directors for Cumbria’s official Destination Management Organisation.

And with just one week before the official launch of Carlisle Lake District Airport on 4 July, Stobart Group’s Kate Willard will reveal the latest on the first scheduled passenger flights for more than 25 years. The speaker-line up is rounded off with an update from Cumbria Tourism patron, United Utilities.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “Our latest research reveals the massive £3billion contribution tourism makes to our county and we’re delighted to be welcoming a great selection of high-level speakers to our AGM, who can update and inspire local businesses on the important issues facing our growing industry.

 “We are proud to be working at both a regional and national level to champion Cumbria’s tourism sector and we know that the latest insights from VisitBritain and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport will be invaluable to local businesses who want to continue growing and innovating for the future.

 “It is great to know that the Government recognises the value of rural tourism, although it’s also vital that we work together to take full advantage of the opportunities and tackle the challenges tourism businesses face on a day-to-day level.”

The day will finish with a ‘Question and Answer’ session for Cumbria Tourism’s member businesses.

Latest figures reveal that Cumbria’s tourism sector generated £3billion for the county’s economy last year and supported 65,000 jobs – 20% of the county’s total employment.

The statistics come from the Scarborough Tourism Economic Activity Monitor, commonly known as ‘STEAM’. The annual assessment has taken place for the past 20 years and is produced on behalf of a partnership led by Cumbria Tourism and supported by Cumbria’s District Councils, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the Lake District National Park Authority

The latest STEAM analysis concentrates on Cumbria’s overall tourism performance for 2018 and reveals an overall 3.7% increase in the value of tourism compared to the previous year. The biggest increases in value were in Eden (+8.6%), South Lakeland (+5.6%), Barrow (+4.2%) and Copeland (+4.1%).

South Lakeland district accounts for the greatest share of £3billion tourism revenue at 44%, followed by Carlisle with 18% and Allerdale with 16%.

In line with Cumbria Tourism’s long-term strategy, the county also saw an increase in overnight stays in 2018, with an extra 410,000 bed nights across Cumbria. This supports the increased spend and significantly bucks the national trend.  At the same time, there was a small drop in day visitors to Cumbria of -0.7%.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “This is the sixth year of growth for the value of the county’s tourism industry, and the new £3billion figure underlines the importance of the sector to our economy.  

 “It also demonstrates the success of Cumbria Tourism’s continuing ‘attract and disperse’ policy, which draws on the strength of the Lake District brand to attract staying visitors who also want to discover and explore the wider county. The visitor economy brings a range of benefits to the whole of Cumbria and helps make the county not only a great place to visit, but also a great place to live and work. We believe that by working together there are significant opportunities to further grow the value of tourism.

She adds, “That said, we are conscious that these are testing times for Cumbria’s tourism sector. Our recent Business Performance Survey highlights continued rising costs for tourism businesses, uncertainties around Brexit and reduced consumer spending. As an industry, joined-up investment, co-ordination and partnership working is vital to ensure our world-class destination continues to sustain jobs and bring all year round benefits in the county as a whole.”

Nigel Wilkinson is a Cumbria LEP Board member and Chair of the Visitor Economy Sector Panel. He says, “The latest STEAM data confirms the strength of Cumbria’s tourism offer and Cumbria Tourism and partners success in taking this to the next level. It is really encouraging to see the growth in overnight stays and the results now being delivered by the attract and disperse policy.

 “This strong performance clearly demonstrates Cumbria’s important contribution to the emerging Tourism Sector Deal and puts down a clear marker of our potential to become a national Tourism Action Zone. Cumbria LEP (CLEP) will be working closely with Cumbria Tourism and our visitor economy partners to make Cumbria’s case”.