A familiar face who has appeared on TV screens across the North West for more than two decades is the latest addition to Cumbria Tourism’s PR and communications team.

Royal Television Society award winner Peter Marshall has a detailed knowledge of Cumbria, having spent the last 25 years covering the county for BBC North West Tonight and the regional current affairs programme ‘Inside Out’.  He previously worked as a journalist and producer in BBC local radio, after starting his career in local newspapers.

Most recently, Peter has reported extensively on the economic impact of the global pandemic on Cumbria’s visitor economy and its recovery efforts. An experienced storyteller with a wide-ranging network of contacts and understanding of the media, his vast experience spans video journalism, content creation and social media production.

Peter will be putting his skills to good use, as he joins an ambitious team at Cumbria Tourism, focused on supporting business recovery and growing Cumbria’s reputation as an all-year-round destination – with a continued emphasis on less well-known areas of the county and new, more diverse visitor audiences.

An integral part of Peter’s new role will be working with Cumbria Tourism’s ‘Bespoke’ PR clients to provide a personalised PR consultancy service for a range of key businesses looking to increase their own regional and national profile in a post-pandemic world.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, comments, “It is a fantastic coup to welcome an award-winning journalist of Peter’s calibre to the team. This is a pivotal time for Cumbria’s visitor economy and his skills, knowledge and experience will help us to continue delivering high-quality content and impactful PR as part of Cumbria’s Tourism’s Recovery Marketing Campaign. Peter will also play an important part in supporting individual businesses through our range of bespoke PR, digital and marketing support services.”

Peter says, “Anyone who has been a regular viewer of BBC North West Tonight over the last two decades will know my love of Cumbria and the Lake District. Having worked with many people across Cumbria’s tourism sector, I know how critical upcoming months will be and I’m keen to get stuck into the challenge of effectively marketing, promoting and enhancing this fantastic area’s profile. I’m proud to be taking up this new role at one of the leading Destination Management Organisations nationally.”

For more information about CT’s Bespoke PR services, contact Heather Sewell: hsewell@cumbriatourism.org / 07795 487003.



Cumbria Tourism will be flying the flag for Cumbria’s visitor economy at an influential ‘roundtable’ debate with the Governor of the Bank of England this Thursday 15 April – drawing on its latest first-hand research from tourism businesses as they start to reopen.

Cumbria Tourism’s Managing Director Gill Haigh has been invited to join the virtual event with Andrew Bailey to discuss how COVID-19 and Brexit are impacting the tourism industry, including the future outlook for businesses as restrictions continue to ease.

It coincides with the release of Cumbria Tourism’s new business performance survey, which has been compiled in the run-up to businesses reopening at Step 2 (today, 12 April) and Step 3 (17 May) of the Government’s recovery ‘roadmap’.

Although there is increased optimism since Cumbria Tourism’s previous business survey four months ago, the latest results do reveal that half of tourism businesses in Cumbria are still concerned there are ongoing challenges around cash flow/increased costs, consumer confidence and cancellations. The survey has been carried out in association with Lamont Pridmore and the key findings include:

  • The majority of Cumbria’s tourism businesses plan to reopen as soon as they are allowed to (85%). There was little variation by business type, although visitor attractions, restaurants, pubs and cafes were more likely to expect a time lag of 1-4 weeks before opening.
  • Only 41% of businesses will be fully open when the time comes. 36% will have limited facilities, and 29% will limit numbers/have reduced capacity.
  • Average capacity on opening across all business types will be 65%, with the most common response just 50%.  
  • Businesses have highlighted the key challenges around reopening as:
    • The extra workload to comply with requirements (cleaning and test and trace)
    • Recruitment and training of staff
    • Cash flow, along with the impact of social distancing and reduced capacity on the ability to make a profit.
    • Booking confidence levels
    • Costs associated with extra investment in outdoor spaces
    • Venues with mixed facilities /shared spaces having to change the way they open and operate.
    • Concerns about the affect poor weather could have.
  • For the year to date, 63% of tourism businesses report their booking levels are down (and 40% significantly so).
  • Businesses report a marked increase both in people booking for longer stays and in new visitors. A decrease in larger groups and international visitors is not unexpected.
  • Overall, 32% of businesses describe the government support over the last 12 months as having had a slight positive impact, and 57% say it has had a significant positive impact.  

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism Gill Haigh says, “The Bank of England event builds on the high-profile lobbying work Cumbria Tourism has done over the past 12 months around the impact of not only the pandemic, but also the implications of Brexit and wider long-term issues facing our industry such as skills and recruitment.

“It is an important opportunity to ensure the voice of the tourism and hospitality sector is heard loud and clear, and there’s no doubt that up-to-date, real-time evidence about the day-to-day experiences and concerns of Cumbrian tourism businesses remains vital in helping us to lobby the Treasury and other government departments as they shape policy going forward.

“The good news is that business confidence in the short term has improved, however, longer-term confidence remains an issue. When businesses were asked what their number one ask of government would be, the message was clear – a continuation of grants and other financial support systems until businesses can operate as normal.  

“We know that Cumbria’s tourism businesses are very resilient and will keep adapting and innovating, but we need to ensure the right support is in place to ensure that they not only have a successful summer but – having experienced a devastating 12 months – they also have confidence about forward bookings and cash flow for the crucial winter months too. This event is an important opportunity to get these messages across to key national decision-makers.”

Cumbria Tourism will participate in the virtual roundtable event with Andrew Bailey, Government of the Bank of England, on Thursday 15 April.

12th April 2021

With a rapid rise in motorhome ownership over the past 12 months, a handy new set of resources have been developed to help new motorhome owners visiting Cumbria to plan their trips, book ahead and help protect the area’s world-class landscape during their visit.

A new Motor Caravanners’ Code has been developed to enable motorhome owners to better navigate their way around, avoiding some of the complex – and sometimes narrow – rural road network, whilst highlighting the most suitable routes to explore Cumbria’s world-renowned but sensitive landscape without missing its scenic highlights.

The Code is just one of the resources available on www.visitlakedistrict.com/vanlife for motorhome and campervan owners, particularly those who are unfamiliar with the area. This helpful online hub also includes new downloadable maps, as well as practical hints to help people easily identify approved locations to stay and basic facilities like public toilets and waste disposal.

There will also be a range of new itineraries/days out to inspire the motorhome community to explore lesser-known parts of the county, including Cumbria’s majestic coastline.

The new online resources will continue to develop and grow over the coming weeks, as part of the work that Cumbria’s Tactical Visitor Management Group have been doing to help manage the expected demand from motorhome owners as lockdown eases.

Our main message to the motorhome community is that there’s more to the county than you might expect and some great new places and experiences to discover. Given the anticipated demand for staycations this year we are strongly urging everyone to plan their routes and book ahead and, whilst they are here, to support our code that encourages us all to protect this beautiful place for the benefit of all,” says the Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh.

“Our latest visitor research shows that walking, spending time near or on the water and exploring safe, quiet and captivating landscapes are some of the main reasons to visit. Our downloadable maps, itineraries and Motor Caravanners’ Code are all about helping people to create some unique memories – and opening their eyes to all the hidden gems they may not be aware of, particularly along our stunning coastline which stretches from Morecambe Bay to the Scottish border, taking in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, layers of hidden heritage and history, and plenty of water-based activities for all the family.

 “We’re also highlighting the fantastic range of local farm shops, eateries and visitor attractions people can uncover when they look beyond the usual tourist hotspots in the central Lakes. We love to see visitors valuing and supporting our local communities, and we hope these new online resources will give them all the practical tips and information they need to do just that.”


With some lockdown restrictions set to begin to relax from today, a number of businesses across the county are preparing to safely welcome back members of the nearby community, and after months of closure, the rest of Cumbria’s tourism sector is working hard behind the scenes to reopen phase by phase in accordance with the Government’s roadmap.

This will begin with an opportunity for locals. From today the guidance changes from ‘Stay Home’ to ‘Stay Local’, enabling residents to enjoy outdoor gatherings of up to six people, or two households, in line with social distancing measures. It allows outdoor businesses such as gyms, pools and water sports to reopen for the benefit of people locally.

“Following a prolonged lockdown period, Cumbrian residents will at last be able to rediscover some of the amazing things to do right here on their own doorstep” says Gill Haigh, Cumbria Tourism MD. “Whilst it is still important to do all we can to minimise the spread of COVID-19, today’s changes will allow locals to get a little more active within the county. This is very much a limited offering but it is great to see and I know local people will really appreciate being able to do some of their favourite things again. Our advice is to Know Before You Go, check with the venue directly and pre-book if appropriate before travelling.

Activities for locals will include boat and bike hire, activity sessions and forest and garden spaces to walk through and enjoy. Cumbria Tourism Strategic Partners Forestry England manage open spaces at Whinlatter and Grizedale. Mark Holroyd, Head of Recreation and Communications (North) at Forestry England, says “Both Grizedale and Whinlatter Forests are ready to welcome local visitors, with extensive car parking, takeaway food and drink, toilets and covid secure facilities. The forest landscape provides an ideal setting to avoid any crowds and enjoy time in nature.”

Cumbria Tourism’s MyCumbria initiative is packed full of exciting activities, a number of which are able to reopen in some form from the 29th March. The MyCumbria website and social media accounts are great places to find out who’s open and when, and cardholders can even enjoy exclusive discounts when they visit. With so many opportunities to see more and save it soon pays for itself.

Cumbrian residents can learn more about the exclusive discounts a MyCumbria card offers and purchase their own from www.mycumbriacard.co.uk.

Full information on when and how specific businesses can reopen is available on the Government website at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.


29th March 2021

12 months on from the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Cumbria Tourism MD Gill Haigh evaluates at the impact of the Coronavirus on the county’s tourism industry, and how the county’s official Destination Management Organisation (DMO) is using the lessons learnt to come back stronger than ever.

“Looking back to March 2020, it’s hard to imagine that at the time we had almost no idea of how much life was about to change. Spring is a vital time for our industry – after the quieter winter months the Easter holidays are really when hospitality reawakens. Many businesses were putting the final touches in place to welcome back visitors following exciting new renovations and updates when news of lockdown broke, and all our plans went out of the window.

“It has been an extraordinarily difficult year but I’m immensely proud of how our industry has worked together to survive, innovate and diversify ready to come back stronger than ever in 2021. Despite being unable to meet in person I feel as though I know our members better than ever, one silver lining has been the opportunity to reach out personally to so many business owners across Cumbria as we campaign on their behalf and help them connect with others in similar situations. Our free members’ webinar programme has also allowed businesses from across the county to listen to and engage with a wide range of industry experts and national hospitality figures to help give them the information they require.

“The pandemic has also highlighted the importance of Cumbria Tourism to the county’s wider economy, in no small part due to the vital contribution of all our members, staff and board. I am very proud that our consistent lobbying activity has delivered clear results to the benefit of many businesses, as well as supporting those falling through the cracks. Last month’s budget announcement included several specific policy points which we had campaigned for, including the furlough extension, Business Rates relief and the retention of the 5% VAT rate, all of which are vital to provide businesses with the safety net they need to bounce back as quickly as possible. Cumbria Tourism has also been instrumental in the recent announcement for a DMO review, an independent analysis of how destinations should be supported as we build back better.

“The pandemic has highlighted the important role that DMOs play. As well as marketing the region we are also a direct conduit between visitors, businesses, and Government, allowing us to react quickly and efficiently as situations demand. We also achieve more when we work together – during the last year we have further strengthened our links with partners across the North West, allowing us to speak with a strong, unified voice.

“As we look ahead to the next stages of the Government’s road map, we are here to support businesses to welcome visitors safely and responsibly. We undertook in-depth visitor research last summer to better understand the background and needs of returning and first-time visitors and we are now in a fantastic position to encourage new and returning tourists not only to support local businesses, but also to explore every corner of Cumbria. Alongside partners we have developed a comprehensive strategy to support visitor experiences and visitor management throughout the county – not only creating a better experience for visitors but also benefitting our communities and their economies.

“One year after lockdown began is a good opportunity to look back and take stock but there is still work to do. Our #theperfectplacetobe Destination Recovery Marketing campaign strategy looks beyond the spring and summer right through to 2022 and we will continue to adapt and refine as the realities of a post-Covid world become clearer. What is certain, however, is that no matter what happens in the future, Cumbria Tourism will continue to be at the heart of the sector, championing and supporting businesses, working alongside partners to promote, celebrate and manage our unique county to visitors the world over.”

To learn more about the work of Cumbria Tourism and the benefits of membership, visit www.cumbriatourism.org or contact a member of the team by emailing membership@cumbriatourism.org or calling 01539 822 222.

Safe, open outdoor spaces and welcoming businesses are the key themes for Cumbria Tourism’s 2021 Holiday Guide, and Lake District-loving celebrities have shared their reasons why the county is #theperfectplacetobe for a post-lockdown break.

Including personalised messages from stars including outdoors champion Julia Bradbury and Cumbria’s very own Helen Skelton, the 100-page guide celebrates the very best of what Cumbria has to offer and encourages visitors to plan and book their post-lockdown trips ahead.

Following the unveiling of the Government’s ‘Roadmap to Reopening’ the outdoors is set to be more important than ever and tourists will be looking to get outside in the fresh air alongside families and household bubbles.

The 2021 Guide forms part of the recovery campaign that Cumbria Tourism is delivering on behalf of the whole county. It provides a wide range of options for all abilities, highlighting quieter gems such as the Cumbrian coastline, the Eden Valley and Morecambe Bay as well as inspiration for activities and adventures.

“Cumbria truly is the perfect place to be for a staycation once it’s safe to travel again” says Gill Haigh, Cumbria Tourism Managing Director. “After such a long wait we’re excited to welcome visitors back to our county safely, and with so many amazing options on offer where better to enjoy the fresh air?

 “Whether they’ve been inspired to try out paddle boarding on England’s longest lake, or experience forest bathing in the country’s only mountain forest everyone will be inspired to book their stay after picking up a copy.”

Foodies will have plenty to salivate over as well, with pages of mouth-watering photography highlighting the county’s tasty treats. In addition to the county’s eight Michelin Stars, newly announced for 2021, the Guide includes a fantastic range of businesses showcasing the very best of local produce. Local MasterChef 2019 winner Irini Tzortzoglou also features, highlighting the county’s culinary delights.

Alongside information on important information such as disability access, dog-friendly accommodation and electric vehicle charging points, the Guide also highlights the attractions, restaurants and accommodation providers which have signed up to the national ‘We’re Good to Go’ accreditation scheme.

Identified by a ‘green tick’ logo this scheme highlights businesses with Covid-secure measures designed to safeguard visitors, staff and local communities, allowing tourists to book with confidence.

“Safety must come first”, continues Gill Haigh “and I’m immensely proud of the hard work our industry has put in to limit the risk of spreading Covid-19 without losing what makes Cumbria such a special place to visit. The ‘Good to Go’ accreditation gives visitors peace of mind that their safety is a key priority – all they need to do is look out for the green tick.”

The 2021 Visit Lake District, Cumbria Holiday Guide is available now and UK residents planning their next staycation can order a copy to be delivered for free at www.visitlakedistrict.com/offers/order-a-free-holiday-guide.

Responding to Matt Hancock’s announcement in the House of Commons today, the Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says:

“Cumbria’s tourism industry thrives on welcoming visitors and providing first-class hospitality. It has been hit hard financially by the challenges of recent months, so it’s good to see the majority of our businesses out of lockdown and getting back to what they do best – albeit in a more limited way.

“At the same time, it’s a major concern that some businesses, such as wet-led pubs, will not be able to open. Some of the areas Cumbria traditionally draws on for its visitors are also facing tougher restrictions, with government advice not to travel from some parts of the North West, North East, Yorkshire and the Midlands. Dealing with this adds to the complexities and challenges facing businesses on a day-to-day basis, on top of the huge raft of measures they have already undertaken to ensure they are COVID-safe and ‘good to go’.

“Cumbria Tourism is grateful for the extension of the furlough scheme and other financial support, which we lobbied hard for, but these schemes in no way recompense the income already lost this year – a total of £1.86billion across our county, which is more than 60% of our visitor economy’s total annual value.

“We will continue to work alongside regional and national industry partners to ensure businesses are adequately supported throughout this unprecedented situation. Further businesses closures would be devastating not only for owners, but also to staff, their families and the wider community.

“At this time, the ‘support local’ message is more important than ever, and we are also encouraging Cumbrian residents to make the most of what’s on their doorstep. Cumbria is blessed with many wide-open spaces, not only stunning mountains and lakes but also parks, historic houses and more. Cumbria looks forward to welcoming both visitors and locals in line with all the latest guidelines. Our county truly has something for everyone, and every penny spent at a local business goes towards supporting communities and jobs.

“The situation is ever-changing, with a review scheduled for 16th December. We are hopeful for an improved situation to enable increased trading over the Christmas and New Year period and will monitor the situation closely.”


In this year of inconceivable challenge for the tourism sector, who are the shining stars within your business and how can you support their growth and development?

Cumbria Tourism is teaming up with the University of Cumbria – one of its Strategic Partners – to promote two new scholarships to two deserving individuals from the county’s tourism industry, for its internationally popular MBA in Tourism Management.

The scholarship would waive 50% of fees, which can be taken over one or two years – meaning a saving of £6000.

Cumbria Tourism is delighted to be partnering with the University to help identify nominations for the scholarships and is inviting businesses to nominate staff members that they would like to be considered. Individuals can also nominate themselves.

The deadline for nominations is Monday 7 December. A panel including both the University of Cumbria and Cumbria Tourism industry experts will make the selection and notify successful candidates the same week, with a view to starting the programme from 11 January 2021.  Nominations should be submitted online HERE.

In addition to the two scholarships, the University is also supporting the local talent pool by offering 17% off its MBA programme to any Cumbrian participant. (Any nominees not successful for the 50% scholarship will be immediately eligible for the 17% benefit).

This is a fantastic opportunity to support staff to develop more flexible, dynamic and positive approaches to upskilling the tourism industry, boosting productivity and finding innovative ways to respond to continuing uncertainty.

Dr Angela Anthonisz is Principal Lecturer in Tourism Management at the University. She says, “Workforce challenges are a huge issue for the tourism sector, exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19 and concerns around potential post-Brexit restrictions on skilled workers from the EU, as well as outdated perceptions of careers in the tourism and hospitality industry.

“This is the UK’s first postgraduate MBA in Tourism Management, launched this year to help graduates work towards the highest-level jobs the sector can offer. The MBA has already had strong international appeal and we are now keen to ensure our brilliant Cumbrian businesses and sector superstars also reap the rewards.”

 Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, adds, “This year of all years has proved how important it is to be continually resilient and flexible, to have the skills to adapt businesses and bring teams with you in order not only to survive crisis and challenge, but to use the experiences as a catalyst for growth and productivity.

 “We are hugely proud of how Cumbria’s tourism and hospitality businesses have adapted this year and it is fitting that the county’s very own university is recognising this effort and talent through this generous sponsorship award.”


Cumbria Tourism’s ‘Shop Local’ message is stepping up a gear with the launch of a Virtual Christmas Market, promoting the very best of the county’s local gifts, produce and vouchers for experiences and breaks.

Ahead of Black Friday on 27 November, Cumbria’s official Destination Management Organisation (DMO) is urging people to get behind Cumbrian businesses and communities rather than turning to impersonal global online retailers for their Christmas gifts.

Running from now until the end of the year on visitlakedistrict.com, Cumbria Tourism’s Virtual Christmas Market will enable a wide range of independent retailers, hotels, restaurants, attractions, cultural venues, creative talents and artisans to sell online and help ‘make it a Cumbria Christmas’ despite the continuing restrictions.

It also means that people across the county – and beyond – can still enjoy browsing and buying unique gifts, as well as having the flexibility to redeem vouchers for a range of experiences, dining out and break away on a future date.

The initiative is part of Cumbria Tourism’s wider #theperfectplacetobe Recovery Marketing Campaign to help tourism and hospitality businesses affected by more than £1.7billion in lost income following the impact of COVID-19 during 2020 so far.

With two national lockdowns and just a few short weeks of summer trading to generate vital revenue, the performance of the industry during the coming winter months will be all the more critical for business survival.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “One positive thing to come out of the lockdown restrictions is a renewed public appreciation for everything we have right here on our doorstep and the intrinsic value of ‘supporting local’.

 “We have so many first-class, locally-run businesses right across Cumbria and our new Virtual Christmas Market gives residents a chance to throw their support behind our local tourism industry in the absence of the many annual markets and craft fairs we’d usually expect to see at this time of year.

 There are so many talented makers and producers in our county. So whether it’s ordering superb locally-made products online or buying vouchers for experiences and breaks to enjoy in the future, each and every Cumbrian resident can make a difference by ordering gifts for friends, families, colleagues and customers that reflect the very best of Cumbria.”

 Lake District Country Hotels is one of the dozens of businesses taking part in Cumbria Tourism’s Virtual Christmas Market.

Executive Commercial Manager, Joe Cobb, says, “Buying and supporting local is more important than ever. Not only does it support people and businesses in the community at such a challenging time, but you often get a better product. In the Lakes, and in Lake District Country Hotels in particular, there is so much creativity.

 “Buying local also offers personality, from warm, welcoming, personable service. Cumbria Tourism’s Virtual Christmas Market should be at the top of all of our agendas.”

It is free for Cumbria Tourism members to advertise online gifts on the county’s Virtual Christmas Market on visitlakedistrict.com. Non-member businesses can also register as sellers for £30.

All businesses need is the ability to transact online, plus an image and 20 words to describe each item they are selling (up to a maximum of four).

For more information or to get involved, contact campaigns@cumbriatourism.org


23rd November 2020