Businesses from across Cumbria’s £2.9billion tourism sector are being asked to put forward their questions for a ‘Question Time’ style Brexit debate taking place at next week’s Lakes Hospitality Trade Show.

The topical Brexit-theme panel will be one of the highlights of the event at the Junction 36 Rural Auction Centre on Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 March.

Just two weeks ahead of the planned departure date from the EU, it will be a chance for hospitality businesses to explore the specific effects of Brexit on the hospitality industry and discuss how business owners can take practical steps to maximise the positives and minimise the negatives.

The debate at 10.30am on Wednesday 13 March will be chaired by hotelier Jonathan Denby, who is Co-director of the Lakes Hospitality Trade Association. Joining him on the panel will be:

  • Gill Haigh, Managing Director, Cumbria Tourism
  • Martin McTague, Policy and Advocacy Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses
  • Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale
  • Andy Gould, Managing Director, South Lakes Insurance
  • Jennie Riding, Owner of The Lodges at Artlegarth


The audience will also hear from Copeland MP Trudy Harrison and Penrith and the Border MP Rory Stewart via pre-recorded video.


Up to 100 spaces are available to pre-register to be part of the audience on the day.

Businesses that cannot be there can also put forward their burning questions by emailing Sam Tollerson at Cumbria Tourism by Monday 11 March:


Co-director of the Lakes Hospitality Association, Jonathan Denby, says, “We are expecting this to be a lively and inspired debate. With all the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, it is an opportunity to look at some of the specific issues that matter to the hospitality industry, including free movement of people, migrant workers and future recruitment. This will be a great opportunity to hear from industry experts, as well as giving businesses a platform to air their views on the momentous days which lie ahead.”

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh says, “Cumbria has a unique rural economy that is heavily reliant on tourism and Brexit is a significant cause of concern and uncertainty. This debate will be a great forum to air a range of issues including border controls for visitors, import tariffs, the potential for increased operating costs and for many, the recruitment and supply of EU workers. Crucially, we can then use evidence gathered at the event to help our continued lobbying at the highest levels of Government – to ensure that the voice of our tourism and hospitality businesses is heard loud and clear.”

With a record 140+ businesses exhibiting at the 44th annual Lakes Hospitality Trade Show, a big turnout is expected across the two days. As well as the Brexit debate, well over 600 people have already signed up for a series of short workshops and seminars spanning everything from diversifying tourism businesses to tackling skills shortages and making the most of digital marketing.

Attendance at the show, along with all seminars and workshops, is free. Places can be pre-booked.

The first phase of a high-profile marketing campaign gets underway this week, aimed at supporting the tourism and hospitality businesses hardest hit by train disruption in recent months.


Following robust and sustained lobbying at government level, Cumbria Tourism worked with Cumbria County Council and Transport for the North to secure £285,000 for a marketing campaign funded by the rail industry. In its role as the county’s official Destination Management Organisation, it is now launching part one of this high-impact campaign in the countdown to the main 2019 holiday season.


The aim is to dispel perceptions that Cumbria is inaccessible by rail, as well as giving visitors practical ideas and inspiration to encourage them to book breaks away. It will support locations such as South Lakeland, Morecambe Bay and Cumbria’s West Coast, where businesses say they lost vital income during last summer’s train cancellations.


Outdoor advertising at key transport hubs in Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London Euston will run alongside targeted online marketing on platforms including Facebook and Spotify. There will also be content in high-circulation newspaper titles such as the London Metro and Manchester Evening News, alongside a PR campaign targeting social media influencers.


The activity will coincide with the launch of a new 25% discount off* selected off-peak Northern rail services in Cumbria.


Cumbria Tourism’s Head of Marketing and Sales, Rachel Tyson, says, “It has been a challenging period for travellers and it’s important that we not only rebuild confidence in the rail services, but also positively inspire potential visitors about the range of possibilities on offer in the Lake District, Cumbria.


“As well as highlighting train services, we will be signposting visitors to onward travel options, so they understand that connections are available to bus services and car hire from train stations, as well as regular scheduled boat services on Windermere, Coniston and Ullswater.  We want to get people thinking differently about all forms of sustainable travel, including buses and boats, so they are inspired to make the journey part of the overall experience rather than just a way of getting from A to B.”


Cllr Keith Little, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport says,    “I am delighted that Cumbria Tourism has received this funding for a marketing campaign to promote our beautiful county. Last year’s rail disruption had a severe impact on Cumbrian commuters and businesses, and we’ve worked hard to lobby for this funding. I am confident that the revised timetables and measures introduced by Northern will result in a more reliable and effective service that meets the needs of Cumbria as a tourist, business and academic destination.”

A second wave of activity will launch later this year, to coincide with the main visitor season.

A Cumbrian outdoor instructor has been named as one of ten finalists in a competition to find VisitEngland’s 2019 Tourism Superstar… and now he needs your vote!

The annual award, supported by the Daily Mirror, recognises the passion and hard work of tourism industry workers who consistently go the extra mile to ensure their visitors have a truly unforgettable experience.

The 2019 finalists have just been revealed with Cumbria’s own Tim Green named as one of the final ten. Tim, who lives in Keswick and is a director of Windermere-based CBA Events, is the only nominee in the North West to make the exclusive shortlist.

The overall winner will be announced during English Tourism Week (30th March – 7th April 2019) and will be invited to accept the coveted title at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence.


Tim, who joined CBA Events just three years ago, has been instrumental in spearheading a new phase for the company, persuading the owners of Windermere’s Graythwaite Estate to offer their grounds as a haven for highly personalised, tailored and unrushed outdoor pursuits. He certainly has a varied role, with his daily tasks ranging from instructing visitors on RIBs, canoes and stand-up paddleboards in the Lake District World Heritage Site, to arranging unique bespoke activity packages for a highly varied range of groups including corporate teambuilding sessions and stag and hen experiences.

Known for his motto “I’ll sort it” and his seemingly limitless patience and energy, even when de-rigging a set at 3am after an action-packed day, Tim’s hard work has caught the attention of the VisitEngland judges but it’s now up to a public vote to find the overall national winner.

Tim says “‘To be chosen to represent Cumbria as a Tourism Superstar is a real privilege; there are so many great people in our area providing fantastic visitor experiences that I was really delighted to be able to be an ambassador for the Lake District, Cumbria in this process. We pride ourselves on our personalised experiences, attention to detail and enthusiasm and to be recognised for this is fantastic.”

Gill Haigh, Cumbria Tourism Managing Director says “Tim has a true passion for his home county of Cumbria and actively sells the county as a wider visitor destination. As well as taking the time to get to know his customers personally and offer a high-quality visitor experience, he is always looking for ways to go the extra mile. Our work at Cumbria Tourism wouldn’t be nearly as successful without the work of committed individuals such as Tim – he definitely deserves the title of Tourism Superstar.”

The Daily Mirror is hosting an online public vote open until midnight on Tuesday 2nd April 2019 and Cumbria Tourism is urging people to support Tim to help both him and the county to receive as much exposure as possible. Supporters can vote online at on the Mirror website as well as helping to spread the word on social media using the hashtag #VoteCumbriaTim.


As the February half-term holidays edge closer, families can help support hundreds of Cumbrian attractions at discounted prices with a MyCumbria discount card.

The cards, produced by Cumbria Tourism, are valid for anyone who lives or works in a CA or LA postcode area (including in north Lancashire), with exclusive special offers including half-price entry to Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway, 50% off at South Lakes Safari Zoo and 20% off at Treetop Trek.

Also among the hundreds of discounts and exclusive offers are 2 for 1 deals at Lowther Castle, selected local cinemas, South Tynedale Railway, Rheged Indoor Play & cinema, Lakeland Wildlife Oasis, the Coniston Steam Yacht Gondola, the Senhouse Museum, Farfield Mill and afternoon teas at participating hotels.

Plus, for any holiday-weary grown-ups, stay with a friend or loved one at Lakeside Hotel & Spa any Friday night between now and 31st March for only £69 per person (based on two people). The brand-new offer includes dinner (with an allowance of £39 per person), bed & breakfast and unlimited use of the pool and leisure facilities throughout the stay.

Other brand-new offers added to the MyCumbria card just in time for the half term break include:

Mountain Adventure Lake District: One child goes free – on any activity, when accompanied by two paying adults.

Ruskin Museum, Coniston: Two adults for the price of one; with the same offer for children. A family ticket (two adults and two children) is £9 instead of £16 for card holders.

Grasmere Gingerbread spoon competition: Collect a free spoon to paint for their special spoon garden during the half-term holidays. All will be entered into a competition to win an Ultimate Cumbrian Hamper.

Gaynor Anderson – who oversees the MyCumbria card scheme at Cumbria Tourism, says, “This is a great card you just can’t afford to leave your home without. It’s not just great for families, but it’s a really strong way of supporting businesses here in Cumbria as 2019 gets into full swing. 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.”

Details of every offer are online at

Thomson Hayton Winkley Solicitors have been unveiled as the latest organisation to be named as one of Cumbria Tourism’s official Strategic Partners.

The company joins a select group of influential tourism-related businesses who share Cumbria Tourism’s core values and desire to significantly grow the value of the county’s £2.9billion tourism sector for the local economy.

Thomson Hayton Winkley employ around 100 staff and provide legal services for tourism and hospitality businesses across Cumbria and beyond. As well as operating a legal helpline, it has five offices in South Cumbria: in Kendal, Windermere, Kirkby Lonsdale, Grange and the Junction 36 Rural Auction Centre.

Director John Cooke says, “It’s easy to think of tourism businesses as hotels and guesthouses, pubs and restaurants, but it is of course much wider ranging than that. We recognise the value of all businesses to the Cumbrian visitor economy and we aim to support them and build longstanding relationships.

“We have a strong history of representing clients in the tourism industry, so becoming a Strategic Partner means we are cementing that expertise in a way which helps us support Cumbria Tourism, its member businesses and other like-minded organisations who want to see the visitor economy grow and prosper for the benefit of everyone.

Our Managing Director, Gill Haigh, says, “We are proud to be one of the largest member Destination Management Organisations (DMO) in the UK and our Strategic Partners are a core network of organisations who want to get behind us share their collective expertise to champion the delivery of effective destination marketing for the county. It is important to draw on the experience and enthusiasm of companies like Thomson Hayton Winkley who have an in-depth understanding of the different parts of our £2.9billion tourism sector and can help us drive forward for the future.”

Thomson Hayton Winkley has expertise in areas such as buying and selling property and businesses, helping start-ups, dealing with disputes, employment matters and terms of business and helping people plan for the future.

Cumbria Tourism’s other Strategic Partners include:

  • ABP (Associated British Ports) Barrow
  • The Cumberland For Business
  • Forestry Commission England
  • Inspired Energy
  • Lake District Estates
  • Lamont Pridmore
  • NFU Mutual
  • University of Cumbria
  • United Utilities (Cumbria Tourism patron)
  • Windermere Lake Cruises

More information can be found at

Event to feature Brexit-themed debate for businesses

It may be in its 44th year, but the Lakes Hospitality Trade Show  is shaping up to be the biggest yet with a record-breaking 140+ exhibitors now signed up for the event. It’s also been revealed that a series of free workshops and seminars will feature a topical Brexit-themed debate just two weeks before the UK’s planned departure from the EU.

Momentum is building for Cumbria’s longest-running trade show, which will bring together a diverse range of hospitality businesses from across Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire at the Junction 36 Rural Auction Centre on Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 March 2019.

For the second year running, the Lakes Hospitality Association (LHA) is teaming up with Cumbria Tourism to stage the event, which this year coincides with the final countdown to the Brexit deadline.

Cumbrian hotelier and Director of the Lakes Hospitality Trade Association, James Tasker, says, “Businesses are telling us that Brexit is the hot topic they cannot ignore, so we’ve decided to stage a special panel debate as part of the show where businesses can explore how Brexit might impact them. That includes the steps they can take to maximise the positives and minimise the negatives.

 “It’s just one of a series of workshops and seminars being held across the two days looking at industry news and trends, from tackling chef shortages and diversifying your business to creating a digital marketing plan and working with social media influencers. With more than 1,200 people attending last year’s show, the event is an annual focal point for the region’s hospitality industry and it is a real opportunity to build relationships, showcase new developments and prepare for the year to come.”

Attendance for the 2019 Lakes Hospitality Trade Show is free and delegates can book ahead for the workshop sessions, including a place in the audience for the Brexit Panel Debate at 10.30am on Wednesday 13 March.

Cumbria Tourism is urging businesses, residents and visitors alike to voice their love for the county as part of this year’s Cumbria Day this Wednesday 23 January 2019.

Cumbria Day will see businesses from across Cumbria being brought together by the county’s six MPs in the Palace of Westminster, alongside representatives from key organisations including Cumbria Tourism. To support this high-level celebration of all things Cumbrian, the county’s official Destination Management Organisation has launched an online campaign across its 300,000 followers on social media to get #cumbriaday trending.

At the same time, Cumbria Tourism is urging its 2,500 member businesses and partners to throw their weight behind the event by sharing #cumbriaday and showcasing why it is #theplacetobe. The organisation is also encouraging Cumbria fans to share their best images, anecdotes and fun facts about the county – whether that’s someone who’s visited in the past, has family connections to the area or simply admires the Lake District, Cumbria from afar.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “It’s little wonder that visitors come back to Cumbria again and again. It is a unique and dynamic county full of diverse businesses, world-class landscapes and authentic people who are staunchly proud of this special place.

“As an organisation, we’re also immensely proud to be part of the event at Westminster, which gives us a chance to showcase some thriving Cumbrian businesses to decision-makers at the heart of government. Importantly, Cumbria Day also gives anyone with a passion for the county a real opportunity to shout about our successes and explain why Cumbria is so vibrant, surprising and unique.”

 She adds, “This is a great opportunity to share how proud we are to live, work or just love this wonderful part of the world and raise awareness with visitors – old and new. Let’s get #CumbriaDay trending!”

People can get involved by following @golakes and @cumbriatourism and sharing stories on social media.

Amateur and professional writers from across Cumbria and further afield are in with a chance to receive widespread recognition with the 2019 Lakeland Book of the Year Awards.

Entries are now open for the prestigious competition, which can include any book published in 2018 set in or featuring Cumbria. Founded by Hunter Davies OBE 35 years ago and supported by Cumbria Tourism and main sponsors James Cropper, the Lakeland Book of the Year celebrates the amazing variety and quantity of writing that the Lake District, Cumbria inspires. The winner is whittled down from around 70 books each year, clearly showing that Cumbria is just as inspirational as when it was the setting for the work of Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey.

Each category winner (five in total) will receive a prize and recognition of their high-quality publication as one of the best from the last 12 months. However, only one of these will receive the ultimate accolade of the Hunter Davies Lakeland Book of the Year 2019.

The all-star judging panel with the task of reading all entries and selecting the shortlist and final winner are:

  • Head judge and founder Hunter Davies OBE (prolific author and regular contributor to The Times, The Sunday Times, The Guardian and the Daily Mail)
  • Eric Robson (broadcaster and Chairman of Cumbria Tourism, The Wainwright Society and Gardeners’ Question Time)
  • Fiona Armstrong (ITV and BBC newscaster, author, journalist and Lord Lieutenant of Dumfries).

All six prizes will be presented at a charity awards event at the Castle Green Hotel, Kendal on 16th July 2019. Attended by authors, publishers and book lovers from throughout Cumbria and beyond, this annual event has raised thousands for well deserving local charities.

Award Categories:

  • The Zeffirellis Prize for People and Business
  • The Striding Edge Prize for Guides and Places
  • The Bill Rollinson Prize for Landscape and Tradition
  • The Latitude Press Prize for Illustration and Presentation
  • The Bookends Prize for Art and Literature
  • The Hunter Davies Lakeland Book of the Year 2019


Judge Eric Robson says “The Lakeland Book of the Year Awards – now in their 35th year and still going strong – are one of the most prestigious awards in the country and I am proud to be a long-term supporter. Cumbria and the Lake District are home to some of the most inspiring landscapes in the world and every year I am blown away by the staggering range and quality of entries we receive – it’s a delight and a privilege to read every single one of them”.

The awards were founded by Hunter Davies and Cumbria Tourism (CT) and are managed by organisers Chris Tomlinson OBE, Affra Hartree and Vicky Robinson MBE, with support from CT. Last year’s winner was “Picture of Cumbria” by Phil Rigby.

The deadline for submissions is the 22nd March 2019. Entry forms are available at or from Cumbria Tourism (01539 822 222).

The results of an important countywide survey to discover the most up-to-date habits of the visitors who drive Cumbria’s £2.9 billion tourism industry are out.

Conducted once every three years, the Cumbria Visitor Survey is a vital part of Cumbria Tourism’s research work and is the only in-depth source of county-wide information on our visitors – revealing where they come from, who they are with, why they come and what they do while they are here. Crucially, they also disclose valuable information about trends and changes in visitor behaviour.

Carried out in conjunction with the majority of Cumbria Tourism’s local authority partners, the Lake District National Park Authority and the Local Enterprise Partnership, the survey involved the completion of 1,400 in-depth, face-to-face questionnaires over a four month period. A wide variety of questions ranged from how much they spend to what influenced their choice of accommodation and how they preferred to book their trips to the county.

As part of Cumbria Tourism’s aim to spread tourism countywide, a new question was introduced to see if people were visiting new places. Three in ten (29%) said they had only visited new places during their visit and 47% were visiting a mixture of old and new places.

Other key findings from the latest research include:

  • 18% of visitors were in Cumbria for the first time.
  • A third (32%) travelled from within the North West region. More than half of all those visiting for the day (56%) were from the North West and almost a quarter (23%) of those staying overnight were North West -based.
  • Pleasingly, visits from the South East increased from 7% in 2015 to 11% in 2018. 17% of first time visitors were also from the South East, up from 8% in 2015.
  • More than 2 in 5 overseas visitors were either from the USA (24%) or Australia (19%)
  • Overseas visitors spent an average of £810.76 per party per trip, compared to UK visitors who spend £659.15 per party per trip
  • 10% of visitors used Cumbria Tourism’s GoLakes website to find out about visiting Cumbria
  • 15% of visitors had a dog or dogs with them
  • 94% of all visitors said they felt either very much or ‘quite a lot’ better mentally while visiting the Lake District, Cumbria
  • 96% of visitors rated their trip as good or very good.


Cumbria Tourism’s Managing Director, Gill Haigh, says, “Cumbria is an area where the visitor economy has particular significance to the local economy and communities. Now with two UNESCO World Heritage Sites we have a game changer for the county as a whole and our ambition is to sustainably grow the value of tourism with specific focus on converting day visitors to staying visitors and delivering the ‘attract and disperse principle’. We also want to grow the visitor economy outside of the summer months, and to increase international visitor stay and spend.”

“Our role as the Destination Management Organisation for the county means we are in a unique position of working across local authority boundaries with our partners, to ensure we get the fullest, most accurate picture of visitor behaviour.

The Cumbria Visitor Survey is a key piece of research to assess how the county is performing against these objectives, as well as to identify long-term trends and ensure we and our member businesses focus resources in the right place at the right time.

It’s vital that Cumbria Tourism’s marketing, strategy and lobbying work continue to be truly insight-led and visitor-focused. This research gives us current, reliable evidence direct from visitors and enables us to make informed decisions about a wide range of activities and themes.

For example, targeting the most relevant international markets and developing high-quality content around topical issues like health and wellbeing which genuinely resonates with the people we want to attract.”

Cumbria Tourism takes the lead on the Cumbria Visitor Survey with support from seven local authority partners. That includes Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, The Lake District National Park Authority, Allerdale Borough Council, Carlisle City Council, Copeland Borough Council, Eden District Council and South Lakeland District Council.

The full detailed report is available at a reduced price of £50 for Cumbria Tourism members HERE (or £150 for non-members).