A major survey is being launched across The Lake District to gauge opinion on a charitable donation scheme using contactless debit and credit card machines, in addition to the more traditional coin-slot collection boxes.

Along with its partners the Lake District National Park (LDNP) and Cumbria Tourism, the Lake District Foundation (LDF) is asking for views on whether such a system would be beneficial to its fundraising efforts.

The LDF raises money through donations before distributing to projects which care for local landscapes.

The idea is part of the ‘Rethinking Parks’ programme by NESTA, a global innovation foundation which supports new ideas to tackle 21st century challenges.

Sarah Swindley, Director of the LDF, says, “It’s really important that we hear from as many people as possible. We know that people love the Lake District and want to help us look after it. We also know that people are carrying less cash with them and we are keen to understand how new technology can help.”

The proposal is to help people who wish to donate money for local projects to do so – under no pressure; and even if they don’t have any coins on them.

The survey will also ask about people’s donor habits, the kind of projects they’d like to donate to and the kind of messages participants think should feature on the donation points themselves to maximise their intended effect.

Following the survey, the LDF hopes a test scheme may begin in the summer – hopes echoed by the Lake District National Park.

Liam McAleese, Head of Strategy and Partnerships for the LDNP, says, “We welcome the idea of helping our visitors donate more easily towards the National Park. New technology, such as contactless donations, will bring an exciting new option for the millions of people who enjoy the Lake District every year to put something back and help us keep this place special.”

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “Together with the Lake District Foundation and Lake District National Park, we’re really excited to be part of this project exploring new fundraising territory by looking at how technology can make donating to worthy causes as simple as possible.

“When asking our visitors to part with their money, we understand the process needs to be quick, simple and convenient. We welcome all views on how best to embrace this technology and all our findings will be used in helping to form the next stage of how funds can be raised efficiently and securely, while respecting the locations of where this technology may be positioned.”

The survey was sent out to subscribers to Cumbria Tourism’s mailing lists in mid-November and is also available online here.

You can find out more here.

Internationally renowned designer Wayne Hemingway will be the keynote speaker at Cumbria Tourism’s next Members’ meeting later this month, which is exploring future trends and innovations in Cumbria’s visitor sector.

Carlisle Lake District Airport will be the venue for the special event on Wednesday 21 November. Sponsored by the University of Cumbria, it aims to inspire people to find new ways to innovate and stay competitive in a sector worth £2.9billion to the county’s economy.

Wayne Hemingway MBE co-founded fashion label Red or Dead and Hemingway Design, after turning a market stall into a multi-million pound company.  He is an Honorary Fellow of the University of Cumbria and is currently working with Carlisle City Council to deliver a new ‘garden village’ south of the city as part of their ambitious housing and development growth agenda.

Well known as a passionate and thought-provoking speaker, Wayne says, “Creating powerful new ideas and concepts is vital for any business, regardless of the sector. Cumbria is a special place for me, so I’m pleased to be heading to the county this November to share some of my thoughts and experiences of innovation in the business world and hearing from Cumbrian businesses about what they’re doing to break new ground and forge ahead in a challenging and competitive economic climate.”

Alongside Wayne, the event will feature speakers from Foresight Factory, which works with VisitEngland to research visitor trends at a national level. They will be sharing their latest analysis of visitor behaviour; explaining what it means for Cumbria’s tourism sector and sharing their thoughts on how businesses here can make the most of new and emerging opportunities.

Another key speaker will be the Director of the Lake District Foundation, Sarah Swindley, who will be exploring how technology can motivate and increase visitor giving. Sarah will be unveiling details of an innovative project for 2019 to test out how this could work in Cumbria. There will also be the chance to hear from Cumbria Innovations Platform – part of the University of Cumbria – and how it can support small businesses and tourism suppliers.

Finally, with Carlisle Lake District Airport ready for take-off next Spring, there will be an update from Kate Willard from Stobart Group and the offer of a VIP tour of the facilities for all attendees.

Our Business Development Manager, Sarah Glover, says, “We’re excited to welcome some inspiring and insightful speakers for what promises to be a jam-packed event, not least the internationally renowned Wayne Hemingway.  This is also an important opportunity for tourism businesses from across the county to come together to hear the latest on the sector, to network and to get the latest updates from Cumbria Tourism on our recent results and activities.”

Cumbria Tourism members can book up to two free places at the Members’ Meeting by contacting Sam Tollerson: stollerson@cumbriatourism.org / 01539 822222.

With half-term over and the darker nights setting in, we are today unveiling a five-month campaign to promote the county as an all-year-round visitor destination.

Our programme of seasonal marketing activity reached a combined audience of more than 32 million last winter, including the full spectrum of social media, travel features in national newspapers and 1.9million eNewsletters to targeted customer databases.

With huge potential to grow the seasonal visitor economy when Cumbria has the capacity to accommodate additional visitors, the latest phase of #theplacetobe campaign again aims to drive much-needed trade during the winter months and encourage longer stays across the county.

This year’s innovations will include the launch of the new ‘GoLakes Club’ – a new annual membership club which encourages visitors to stay loyal to Cumbria with a range of exclusive discounts and flash sales all year round.

It will run alongside the newly redeveloped ‘GoLakes card’, which is a visitor rewards card offering special deals over a two week stay between now and the end of March. The card will be available to purchase on GoLakes with complimentary cards being given to visitors that book through the site during the winter period.

An important part of the #theplacetobe message will focus on older couples who are less constrained by family routines and are more likely to visit midweek, as well as the younger ‘buzz seekers’ who enjoy outdoor challenges and outdoor experiences during the winter.

With 14 million page views every year, golakes.co.uk will be the central focal point for visitors to book their winter breaks and access seasonal offers for accommodation and events.  At the same time, Cumbria Tourism is developing targeted content to help inspire winter visits on social media and through a programme of press trips with national travel writers.

To support tourism businesses, a winter toolkit is being made available with ideas, itineraries and imagery they can use on their own websites and marketing channels. Cumbria Tourism is also partnering with individual businesses to offer them more tailored packages of support during the low season.

Head of Marketing and Sales, Rachel Tyson, says, “Winter trading is vital for our local economy and communities, helping to create and maintain all year-round employment for many people. Cumbria is one of the few rural and coastal destinations to attract people all year-round, so a high-impact campaign is vital to maintain visitor confidence and cement this trend during a traditionally quieter time of year.”


Interested in getting involved?

Visit www.cumbriatourism.org/theplacetobe to learn more

The introduction of new non-stop flights from Mumbai to Manchester Airport is a great opportunity for Cumbria’s £2.9billion visitor economy.

The first Jet Airways service linking the Indian sub-continent with Northern England arrived in Manchester on Monday 5 November 2018.  Flying five times a week, it’s hoped the new connection will both support trade and encourage more leisure visitors from the world’s fastest growing economy.

Our Managing Director Gill Haigh attended a special VIP event at Manchester Airport to mark the inaugural flight. She believes the Lake District and Cumbria will have a huge appeal to potential new visitors heading to Northern England from one of India’s major cities.

Gill says, “Research carried out by our colleagues at VisitBritain has shown that Indian visitors are attracted to culture, heritage and the natural beauty of the landscape – qualities which Cumbria has in abundance. With the lure of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a world-class reputation as a visitor destination, we have a compelling message to tell. Together with new and expanded services from the USA later in 2019, it’s an exciting time for developing some of our most important overseas markets!”

Ahead of the launch, we worked closely with a range of organisations to help nurture new relationships with potential new Indian visitors. For instance, our PR team co-ordinated a visit for key influencers and journalists in conjunction with VisitBritain India, including a content producer developing a video for Jet Airways’ in-flight entertainment.

The Cumbria Tourism team has also recently taken part in two large-scale events in Manchester to meet with Indian tour operators and overseas tourism contacts face-to-face, and is working on a new marketing campaign alongside Marketing Manchester to make the most of the new flights. The news comes ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup which takes place in England and Wales next year and is expected to be a massive draw for Indian sports fans.

Cumbria Tourism championed the voice of rural tourism at a special public hearing in the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday 30 October 2018.

Our Managing Director, Gill Haigh, was invited to give evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on the Rural Economy alongside a panel of other experts on tourism and rural heritage issues, including VisitBritain and The National Trust as part of a programme of public hearings the Select Committee is running to learn more about the key issues and challenges relating to the rural economy. The session focussed on the contribution of tourism to local economies and communities in areas such as Cumbria.

Skills, employment and Government policy around tourism were all expected to feature in the session at the Palace of Westminster.  Other themes covered included the impact of Brexit, as well as infrastructure and planning issues.

The hearing also explored the support and advice available to rural tourism and heritage businesses, as well as the potential opportunities within the Government’s plans for local industrial strategies to strengthen the tourism industry in the UK.

Gill says, “Cumbria’s £2.9billion visitor economy supports almost 65,000 jobs, making it a key employer and a vital part of the county’s future growth and prosperity.

“As one of the largest Destination Management Organisations in the UK, lobbying national decision-makers is a core part of the activity we undertake on behalf of our 2,500 tourism member businesses and we are proud to have been given this opportunity to highlight some of the issues and challenges faced by these businesses on a day-to-day level.”

Gill was joined on the panel by VisitBritain’s Director of Strategy and Communications, Patricia Yates, and the South West Regional Director of the National Trust, Rebecca Burton.


To view the proceedings please click HERE.

As the October half-term holidays edge closer, families are being offered the chance to help support hundreds of Cumbrian attractions at discounted prices – while keeping their little ones entertained at the same time.

As autumn gets into full swing, parents in CA and LA postcode areas (including in north Lancashire) are being reminded that picking up one of the cards – produced by Cumbria Tourism, could see the words “Mum, Dad, I’m bored!” confined to detention.

Two for one entry to Lowther Castle and its legendary giant wooden adventure fort at Penrith; buy one get one free offers on films and indoor play at Rheged; and 20% off entry to South Lakes Safari Zoo are just three reasons to pick up a ‘MyCumbria’ residents’ discount card in the coming days.

Discounts for local people include 10% off at Go Ape, Grizedale; and 20% off a two-hour Treetop Trek for up to four people at Brockhole. If the weather’s damp, why not enjoy two-for-one offers at Dove Cottage or Keswick’s Pencil Museum? Card holders can also enjoy two-for-one entry to cinemas in Keswick, Bowness-on-Windermere, Whitehaven, Workington and Ulverston. Alternatively, enjoy two for one tickets on the South Tynedale Railway, the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway; and 50% off at the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway. Furthermore, why not try out Backbarrow’s Cliffhanger Escape Rooms for a 10% discount?

Plus, for any holiday-weary grown-ups, brand new offers include two-for-one at the Langdale Chase hotel for afternoon tea; two courses for less than a tenner at the Sun Inn at Crook near Kendal on weekdays between 5 & 6pm; and 20% off drinks in the Royal Barn at Kirkby Lonsdale Brewery.

Details of many, many more offers are online www.mycumbriacard.co.uk, where everything is broken down by location and category, including ‘Things to Do’, ‘Shopping’ and ‘Food & Drink’.

Gaynor Anderson – who oversees the MyCumbria card scheme at Cumbria Tourism, says, “This isn’t just great for families, but it’s a really strong way of supporting businesses here in Cumbria through the winter months. The team here has worked really hard to put together these offers, which should see big savings made really quickly over the half-term break and beyond. Cumbria really is a great place to enjoy 365 days a year; and most children don’t even seem to notice it’s getting a bit chilly at times!”

Get your MyCumbria Card at www.mycumbriacard.co,uk

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