Inspirational speakers from key organisations, including the upcoming Eden Project North, will bring together tourism businesses from across Cumbria as they innovative ways to develop the county’s £3billion visitor economy.

Keynote speaker Rob Barratt from the highly anticipated Eden Project North will inspire Cumbria Tourism members with an update on one of the most exciting projects in the North West and how their ethos of education, ecology and community will run alongside opening a ground-breaking must-visit attraction.

The ongoing Coronavirus situation is expected to be a major talking point for attendees at the members’ event, held at The Villa, Levens and sponsored by Considerate Group. Cumbria Tourism will be sharing news and advice on best practice for businesses and directing its members to the support available on its website from the government and VisitBritain.

“Supporting our members on how to react to Coronavirus is a priority for Cumbria Tourism and we are working hard to advise businesses as we shift our short-term focus to staycations within our beautiful rural destination.” says Gill Haigh, Cumbria Tourism MD. “At the same time, we must also keep our eye on future opportunities and developments – it’s vital that Cumbria is ahead of the curve.

“Sustainability and greener tourism practices are becoming more of a priority for both domestic and international visitors and we’re ensuring that local businesses receive the very best advice on how they and their customers can protect the planet.

“It’s also important that the benefits of responsible are understood. Our county boasts two beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Activities and promotions embracing and celebrating the landscape such as our recent Dark Skies Festival can really help open the county to new and emerging markets.”

The event is sponsored by Considerate Group, a specialist company which helps businesses more responsibly through a blend of extensive hospitality industry knowledge, sustainability analysis and more. Additional speakers include the Lake District National Park’s new Low Carbon Coordinator Danny Coward alongside representatives from NFU Mutual, The National Trust and Save Grange Lido.

Cumbria Tourism is expressing serious concerns about the Government’s proposed new UK points-based immigration system, which it says fails to recognise the county’s unique recruitment challenges – and could cause real damage to its £3billion tourism industry.

The proposed post-Brexit immigration system unveiled today, 19 February 2020, means there would be no route for lower-skilled workers to come to the UK from the end of this year.

However, the county’s official Destination Management Organisation says this is a major blow for Cumbria, where there is already a labour shortage and European workers are needed to fill job vacancies in tourism and hospitality.

President of Cumbria Tourism, Eric Robson, comments, “The issue of future restrictions has been repeatedly highlighted by businesses and organisations including Cumbria Tourism, but disappointingly, these proposals fail to recognise the specific needs of our visitor economy.

 “Cumbria’s population is less than half a million – and ageing fast – which means there is a limit on the number of eligible working age people available locally. Therefore, we require a range of workers to sustain tourism related- businesses, maintain vibrant communities and secure future prosperity for all sectors.

 “From the start, we have been calling for ‘special case’ recognition for rural areas like Cumbria which face unique recruitment challenges. European workers are an important asset and we’re calling on the Government to rethink this flawed policy, which will severely restrict our industry’s ability to attract and retain the staff they need to not only to fill job roles but also to deliver world class customer service.

“Cumbria Tourism will be speaking to organisations nationally such as UKinbound, VisitBritain and the Tourism Alliance, as well as calling directly on our own MPs and wider government, to urgently address this issue.”

Cumbria’s tourism-related businesses are eagerly awaiting the Lake District Wedding Fair 2020 – a unique event which last year welcomed around 1000 visitors from around the UK to meet face-to-face with bridal venues, suppliers, attractions and activity providers.

The county has a growing reputation as a rural wedding destination and according to Cumbrian Registrars, there were more than 5,000 weddings performed in the county in 2018 and 2019, with 2,300+ currently booked for 2020.  There has also a been a leap in bookings for civil ceremonies already this year, following new legislation that allows opposite sex couples to form a civil partnership as of December.

The Lake District Wedding Fair 2020 on 22 and 23 February is poised to bring authentically local businesses a unique opportunity to meet face-to-face with even more prospective brides and grooms.

As well as dozens of exhibitors and a new ‘Natural Zone’ for eco-conscious couples, there will also be live entertainment, the ‘Look’ fashion show, and a series of special workshops to help attract new wedding-related business to the county.

With the Lake District and Cumbria proving increasingly popular for mini-moons, honeymoons and hen and stag dos, bridal business is a potential revenue stream throughout the year,” says event organiser Nick Hood.

We also know that many of the couples who get married here continue to return to the same venue year after year to mark their anniversaries, so canny businesses genuinely can inspire repeat guests for life.

 “We’re now into the final countdown, but we do still have a couple of last-minute exhibitor spaces left, so we are hoping to get all the finer details for the show finalised in the coming days.”

 See www.lakedistrictweddingfair.co.uk/exhibiting-advertising for more information about exhibiting at the Lake District Wedding Fair, which takes place in the Exhibition Hall at the J36 Rural Auction Centre near Kendal on 22 and 23 February 2020.

Film and TV productions brought an estimated £1million into the Cumbrian economy in 2019. These latest figures have been unveiled ahead of the worldwide release of Dolittle starring Iron Man himself Robert Downer Junior and partially filmed in Cumbria.

The blockbuster takes on a much-loved classic, with the Marvel star appearing alongside the likes of Rami Malek, Antonio Banderas, Emma Thompson and more. It hits cinema screens on 7 February, and alongside the family-friendly adventure, viewers will also be treated to glimpses of Kirkby Lonsdale, where parts of the filming took place in May 2018.

The new figures from Creative England highlight the attraction of Cumbria not only to visitors but also to location scouts seeking the perfect setting for their features. In 2019 alone TV viewers eagerly tuned into ITV’s Deep Water and the BBC’s The A Word, and 2020 promises even more with the release of big screen feature films including Peter Rabbit 2 and Supernova.

The value of film tourism cannot be underestimated. Scottish attractions have reported an increase in national and international interest due to the ‘Outlander Effect’, with fans of the Starz series inspired to follow in the show’s footsteps. Cumbria’s hospitality industry also receives direct benefits from hosting production crews in nearby hotels and restaurants, especially during quieter periods.

 

Gill Haigh, Cumbria Tourism MD, says “We love welcoming film and TV productions to Cumbria – our county is home to such a range of different landscapes and backdrops and with film crews bringing in over six figures of income to Cumbria last year they form an important part of the local economy.

“With so many programmes and films set throughout Cumbria there are plenty of ways for businesses to get involved in film tourism. Easy-to-digest information or guides available for those seeking out specific locations or themed activities during their stay can really personalise a fan’s visit to the county, helping them to stay longer and return to experience everything Cumbria has to offer.

“It was amazing to see Kirkby Lonsdale’s market square transformed for Dolittle – it felt like you were walking straight into the film! I can’t wait to pay a visit to my local cinema and see the finished product for myself.”

 

Dolittle will be available to watch at cinemas across Cumbria, including Kendal’s Brewery Arts Centre, Zeffirellis in Ambleside, Keswick Alhambra, Workington Plaza, The Royalty Cinema in Bowness, Rheged and more.

To learn more about making the most of film tourism, or how to put your business forward for future filming opportunities, contact Cumbria Tourism at info@cumbriatourism.org

We have unveiled four new Strategic Partners – a select group of influential tourism-related businesses who share the organisation’s core values and desire to significantly grow the value of the county’s £3billion visitor economy.

Stagecoach, Burnetts Solicitors, Grasmere Gingerbread® and holidaycottages.co.uk are the latest businesses to sign up to this core network of organisations who want to get behind the industry and support Cumbria Tourism in its role as one of the UK’s leading Destination Management Organisations (DMOs).

All highly respected and regarded within the sector, the four new Strategic Partners will share their collective expertise and champion the delivery of effective destination marketing for the wider benefit of a visitor economy which supports 65,000 jobs across the county.

The news comes as all sixteen of Cumbria Tourism’s Strategic Partners met in Barrow recently to discuss the emerging five-year strategy for tourism across the county.

Rob Jones, Managing Director for Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire, says, “As a local business operating a long-established network of bus services across Cumbria and as a large employer, we are extremely passionate about the area and people that we serve and work with. Our transition from member to Strategic Partner allows us to further our support in promoting Cumbria as a world class destination and presents opportunities to work collaboratively to shape the future prosperity of the region and raise the importance of a sustainable transport future”.

Burnetts also joins Cumbria Tourism as a Strategic Partner for the next three years. Robbie Mather, Partner who heads the firm’s Leisure and Tourism department says, “Burnetts has a strong track record advising a diverse range of clients within the leisure and tourism industry, including hotels, restaurants, visitor attractions, leisure operators, B&Bs and tourism membership groups.

 “We are extremely active at the moment on the commercial side, advising those looking to sell, acquire, restructure or refinance their business. An example being the recent sale of the Pheasant Inn, Bassenthwaite.

 “The work which Cumbria Tourism does for its members and the county is fabulous. As a firm we will be delighted to work alongside Cumbria Tourism as a Partner to support its members and to contribute towards making Cumbria an even greater destination for those visiting and living in the area.

Partner of Grasmere Gingerbread®, Joanne Hunter, comments, “We believe that Cumbria should have the very best corporate organisation representing the region as a whole. Grasmere Gingerbread® is world renowned but still only one component of a fantastic offering for visitors here in Cumbria and we believe it is vital to work together in the best interests of all, which is why we are proud to offer our expertise and support as new Strategic  Partners for Cumbria Tourism.”

 Meanwhile, Director of Growth at holidaycottages.co.uk, Joby Mussell, adds: “We’re delighted to become a Strategic Partner of Cumbria Tourism, a demonstration of our commitment to support the local economy and help raise awareness of Cumbria as fantastic place to take a staycation and explore some of the finest landscapes the UK has to offer”.

 

The full list of our Strategic Partners now includes:

  • ABP (Associated British Ports) Barrow
  • Burnetts Solicitors
  • The Cumberland
  • Forestry England
  • Grasmere Gingerbread®
  • Inspired Energy Plc
  • Lake District Estates
  • Lake District National Park
  • Lamont Pridmore
  • NFU Mutual
  • Stagecoach
  • ThomsonHaytonWinkley
  • University of Cumbria
  • United Utilities (Cumbria Tourism patron)
  • Windermere Lake Cruises

National Geographic Traveller (UK) has revealed ‘The Cool List’ of twenty ‘must see’ destinations from around the world. Listed at number four, Cumbria is the only English region included and rubs shoulders with the likes of Namibia, Slovenia and Baja California in Mexico.

The hotly anticipated list of countries and cities is revealed in the latest issue of the renowned travel publication, which will be out on Thursday 6 February, and is a source of ideas and inspiration for people across the globe. National Geographic Traveller also says the Cool List reflects the growing appetite for responsible and authentic travel.

In a year marking 250 years since William Wordsworth’s birth, the poet’s home county is described “as magnetic as ever”, with the Cool List praising “England’s most spectacular corner”. Wordsworth’s anniversary year is further highlighted with the upcoming £6.2million investment in his former Grasmere home, Dove Cottage, and the adjacent Wordsworth Museum.

Cumbria is also singled out for “the UK’s most exciting trio of restaurants”: The Cottage in the Wood in Whinlatter Forest, Allium at Askham Hall and The Old Stamp House Restaurant in Ambleside, which all recently won their first Michelin stars.

From Cumbria and Cairo to Panama and Pakistan, we’ve scoured the globe for 2020’s most interesting destinations,” says Pat Riddell, Editor of National Geographic Traveller. “It’s a list that gives you plenty of inspiration close to home, as well as further afield, highlighting hiking trails, emerging culinary hubs, luxury lodges and landmark attractions.”

What an accolade!” adds Rachel Tyson, Head of Marketing and Partnerships at Cumbria Tourism. The news also comes just months after Lonely Planet listed Hadrian’s Wall as one of its top ten unmissable experiences, so it’s fantastic to see another globally renowned travel publication recognise the fantastic range and diversity of what our county has to offer.

 “Readers of National Geographic Traveller are widely known as independently-minded travellers, which chimes perfectly with our desire to inspire people about the many hidden gems and lesser known locations across the county.

 “The Cumbria Tourism team recently worked with the magazine to highlight Cumbria’s coastline and we’re thrilled that they are again reinforcing our reputation as a world-class destination.”

 

The Cool List 2020 includes:

  1. Namibia
  2. Baja California
  3. Lebanon
  4. Cumbria
  5. Slovenia
  6. Wales
  7. Panama
  8. Brisbane
  9. Salt Lake City
  10. Yerevan
  11. Lyon
  12. Ethiopia
  13. Cairo
  14. Los Angeles
  15. Puerto Rico
  16. Pakistan
  17. Galway
  18. Vietnam
  19. Tel Aviv
  20. Rio de Janeiro

 

nationalgeographic.co.uk/the-cool-list-2020 

With VisitBritain pledging to increase the value of the country’s tourism to £35 billion by 2025, Cumbria Tourism is stepping up its efforts to promote the county and increase its reputation and popularity to international visitors.

Following its involvement with a successful trade mission to India earlier this month Cumbria Tourism have just returned from Britain and Ireland Marketplace (BIM) on 28th January, a one-day workshop connecting international tour operators and travel buyers with tourism products from across the UK and Ireland. With attendees including key decision-makers it is a fantastic opportunity to highlight Cumbria and the Lake District, particularly its less well-known regions, to operators looking to build new itineraries.

Next week, ambassadors from the county will be attending the UKinbound Annual Convention 2020 in Bristol from 5th February, attending debates and seminars on crafting a successful international marketing strategy before returning to the county to share their insights and help make Cumbria even more attractive to international travellers. The event will also provide the opportunity to build new relationships with the travel trade through B2B workshops.

Tourism business across the county are also being invited to get involved in attracting and welcoming overseas customers. Alongside VisitEngland, Cumbria Tourism is hosting a free workshop on 10th March at the Villa, Levens – Taking England to the World. Attendees will learn key skills on how to expand into international markets, advertise their unique selling points and how to best welcome and accommodate overseas. To learn more and reserve a free place visit www.cumbriatourism.org/events/.

This increased focus on international visitors comes hot on the heels of the English Lake District India Forum’s attendance at the VisitBritain trade mission to Mumbai and Delhi. 13 local representatives from the newly created forum, coordinated by Cumbria Tourism, have been meeting and networking with more than 300 representatives from key travel and tour operators looking to expand their UK itineraries. 2019 (Jan-Sept) was a record-breaker for inbound Indian visitor visits and spend. Overall, there were a record 452,000 visits from India to the UK in those months in 2019, up 13% year on year. Those visitors spent a record £499 million, up 44% on January –September 2018 (International Passenger Survey, Office for National Statistics), and it is hoped that the mission will inspire operators to include the Lake District within their products.

 

India saw some strong results in 2019 so far, setting new records in both visits and spend for January to September.

Francine Bult, Sales and Marketing Executive at Cumbria Tourism, was part of the mission. She said “it was fantastic to be art of such a positive event and having so many Lake District businesses attending together really strengthened the area in the minds of the representatives we met. The Lake District has so much to offer travellers from India, and we’re confident that everyone who visits will find something they’ll fall in love with and remember forever.

 “Our region is highly accessible for travellers arriving into the UK through London, Scotland and the North West and even before the trip ended we were already hearing how they were planning to add the Lake District to their itineraries. Cumbria is a huge draw for Indian tourists looking for an authentic British experience and we look forward to welcoming our overseas guests very soon.”

 Inbound visitors to Cumbria spend on average of £150 more per party per trip than internal tourist (Cumbria Tourism Visitor Survey 2018) and a focus on new and developing overseas markets has the potential to increase the strength of the county’s visitor economy, without an exponential effect on overall footfall, especially if coupled with encouraging visitors to explore outside of the traditional areas.

Local residents and workers are set to receive a reward with a difference, thanks to a brand new partnership being unveiled today (Monday 20 January 2020) between Booths and Cumbria Tourism’s popular ‘MyCumbria’ scheme.

MyCumbria recognises the important role that residents play in supporting the county’s thriving tourism economy and has unveiled a new long-term residents’ offer from the renowned local retailer, which gives £3 off to shoppers when they spend £30 across any of eight specific Booths stores. That includes Penrith, Windermere, Keswick, Kirkby Lonsdale, Kendal, Ulverston and Milnthorpe in Cumbria, alongside Carnforth in North Lancashire.

MyCumbria cards are produced by Cumbria Tourism and are available for anyone who lives or works in a CA or LA postcode area. Booths now joins more than 250 unique residents’ offers for a wide range of pubs, cafes, restaurants, tourist attractions, retailers and transport providers throughout the county.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, Cumbria Tourism’s role is to support our £3billion visitor economy. The MyCumbria scheme is all about recognising and rewarding the people who live and work here too.  We are absolutely delighted that Booths are now offering this special deal, which shoppers won’t find anywhere else and is aimed at rewarding residents for the role they play in our local communities. As well as providing great savings for individuals, the card is also a practical way for residents to support local jobs and businesses.”

Regional Manager for Booths, Richard Ford, says ‘’With seven stores dotted around Cumbria, Booths is home to countless traditional specialties that have given the region its reputation for fantastic food and drink.

“Partnering with MyCumbria to reward local residents is a natural move for Booths as we’re committed to serving the local communities in which we operate. This is an exclusive offer which we hope will allow our customers to enjoy some of the very best food and drink the region has to offer whilst benefitting from a special discount they won’t be able to get elsewhere.”

To redeem the offer, the shopper should show their MyCumbria card along with a form of ID at the checkout.

The offer is not available to Booths colleagues or in conjunction with any other offer and cannot be redeemed against purchases of fuel, mobile top ups, gift cards, baby milk and any purchases from the kiosk (including tobacco, lottery and stamps). It cannot be used on a self-check-out or on Click & Collect pre-orders, and there is no cash alternative.

For more information about buying a MyCumbria card, contact: 01539 822222 / info@mycumbriacard.co.uk

Who will be the tourism trailblazers leading the way in the new decade? World-class businesses from across Cumbria’s £3billion tourism industry are being urged to showcase their stand-out success stories, with the launch of the Cumbria Tourism Awards 2020.

The search is now on to find out who’s setting the standard in a world-renowned visitor economy which supports 63,000 jobs across the county.  With a reputation as the ‘Oscars’ of the tourism sector, the Cumbria Tourism Awards give businesses the chance to highlight the achievements, talents and sheer diversity which make Cumbria’s visitor offer so hard to beat.

Tourism-related businesses have five weeks from today until 5pm on Monday 17 February to enter one or more of the 16 categories and share their successes from the last 12 months.  A wide range of tourism-related businesses are being encouraged to throw their hats in the ring, ranging from restaurants, guesthouses and B&Bs to self-catering accommodation, hotels, retailers and visitor attractions/experiences.

The finalists will be chosen by an independent panel of tourism experts and will have the chance to walk the red carpet at a VIP awards ceremony, taking place at Cartmel Racecourse on Wednesday 15 July. Eligible winners of certain categories will automatically feed up to the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2021, for the chance to gain national recognition.

One of the stand-out accolades on the night will be the Shelia Hensman Award for an ‘unsung hero’, where businesses have the chance to recognise the hard work and dedication of a talented individual who goes the extra mile to create a world-class visitor experience.

The full list of categories for the Cumbria Tourism Awards 2020 includes:

  • Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award
  • Large Hotel of the Year sponsored by Christie & Co
  • Small Hotel of the Year sponsored by Colliers International
  • B&B and Guest House of the Year sponsored by Lamont Pridmore
  • Self-Catering Accommodation of the Year sponsored by Out of Eden
  • Camping, Glamping & Holiday Park of the Year sponsored by NatWest Commercial Banking
  • Small Visitor Attraction of the Year
  • Large Visitor Attraction of the Year sponsored by H&H Reeds Printworks
  • Pub of the Year
  • Taste of Cumbria Award sponsored by The Cumberland
  • Ethical, Responsible & Sustainable Tourism Award
  • Experience of the Year sponsored by Carlisle and Lake District Airport
  • Makers and Producers Award
  • Wedding Venue of the Year
  • New Tourism Business Award sponsored by Thomson Hayton Winkley
  • The Sheila Hensman Unsung Hero Award

The judges will be looking for tourism businesses that demonstrate excellence and innovation across their products and services including: the visitor welcome, marketing, quality and sustainable / environmental practices.  Winning an award brings substantial benefits including raising a company’s profile, increasing customer confidence and potentially generating additional business.

One of the 2019 winners was Castlerigg Hall Caravan, Camping and Glamping Park at Keswick. Owner David Jackson, said: “We were thrilled to win a Cumbria Tourism award, which we believe is a fabulous showcase for the tourism sector in our amazing county. Applying for the award gave us that additional motivation to keep us looking to improve on the service and product we offer, whilst recognising the hard work and dedication of our team here at Castlerigg Hall’.

Meanwhile, The Regent Hotel in Ambleside won Small Hotel of the Year 2019.

Owner Andrew Hewitt commented; “We’ve been here at Waterhead Bay for almost 40 years, and in that time we’ve witnessed so much growth and development in the tourism sector of the Cumbrian economy. The Cumbria Tourism Awards celebrate the best that our county has to offer and give us all a platform to showcase what we do best, so to be involved in something so prestigious was very exciting!”

 Full details about how to enter and the application forms, entry criteria and terms and conditions can be found at www.cumbriatourism.org/awards.  Businesses do not need to be a member of Cumbria Tourism to apply.

 Cumbria Tourism is grateful to its sponsors for making the competition possible again this year.  They include: headline sponsor United Utilities alongside Carlisle Lake District Airport, Cartmel Racecourse, Christie & Co, Colliers International, The Cumberland, EWGA Wines, H&H Reeds Printworks, Lamont Pridmore, Lawson Design, Out of Eden, NatWest Commercial Banking, Shortridge and Thomson Hayton Winkley.