Cumbria Tourism has been given the go-ahead to co-ordinate a £285,000 marketing campaign to show potential visitors that the Lake District, Cumbria, is open and accessible by public transport.

The high-impact marketing campaign funded by the rail industry aims to restore confidence following the recent, highly-publicised issues with train services into the county.

Our vigorous calls for a campaign have been supported by a range of partners, including: Cumbria County Council, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), local MPs Tim Farron, John Woodcock and Trudy Harrison, South Lakeland District Council, Transport for the North and Community Rail Partnerships within the county.

It will not only focus on attracting people back onto the Lakes Line but will also encourage people to make better use of links to the Furness Line, the Cumbrian Coastal Line and mainline train services at Carlisle, Penrith and Oxenholme. Highlighting the wider network of buses and scheduled boat services will be additional key messages.

Details are currently being finalised, but the campaign will get underway later this autumn, subject to full resumption of services. It will include advertising at key regional railway stations, Manchester Airport and the London Underground, as well as VOD (video on demand) on ITV Hub and Sky.

We will also be managing a wide variety of digital marketing through social media (such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat), alongside a PR campaign targeting national journalists and influencers.

The new campaign will help encourage people to book holidays through the GoLakes visitor website and will build on the legacy of the GoLakes Travel and ‘See More’ sustainable travel projects, which Cumbria Tourism helped to co-ordinate.

The Cumbria Tourism team will be working closely with both Northern and local Community Rail Partnerships to develop sustainable travel content and itineraries over the coming weeks.

Our Head of Marketing and Sales, Rachel Tyson, says, “It’s been a challenging period for travellers but as we head towards the traditionally quieter part of the tourism season, we want to inspire people to visit and encourage them to leave the car at home and incorporate leisurely experiences by rail, bus and boat into breaks away in our special part of the world.”

Craig Harrop, Regional Director at Northern Rail says, “Following the disruption to rail services earlier in 2018, Northern is working closely with Cumbria Tourism on this campaign to attract as many visitors as possible to the region. We are now running a full timetable across Cumbria and both reliability and punctuality has significantly improved in recent weeks. As we head into the autumn, visitors and residents of Cumbria will feel they can once again rely on their train services and we look forward to welcoming them onboard.”

Welcoming the announcement, South Lakes MP Tim Farron added, “Local businesses took a massive hit over the summer due to the chaos on the railways. So today’s news that the rail industry has agreed to fund a marketing campaign is to be massively welcomed and will help us send out a loud and clear message that Cumbria is open for business. It was great to work with Cumbria Tourism’s Managing Director Gill Haigh over the past few months to secure this money – thank you to everyone at Cumbria Tourism, as well as politicians from across the county who helped us make the case.”

A competition has been launched to find a photograph that captures both the spirit and beauty of Cumbria, to grace the cover of the 2019 edition of ‘The Lake District, Cumbria Holiday Guide’.

120,000 copies of the guide will be printed and distributed across the UK by Cumbria Tourism – the county’s official Destination Management Organisation – giving amateur photographers a great opportunity to have their snap seen by thousands of people nationwide, as well as countless more online.

The Lake District basked in months of glorious sunshine earlier this summer – making 2018 picture-perfect for holiday snaps of the UK’s newest World Heritage Site.

If you’ve taken a photograph you want to share with the world, send it in to Cumbria Tourism with details of why for you it’s #theplacetobe. If you win, we’ll print your story in the glossy guide itself, as well as online at

Perhaps you’ve taken a photo from high above the clouds after conquering one of The Lake District’s highest mountains, or caught a great action shot during an adrenaline-fuelled trip to the UK’s adventure capital? From landscape shots to images that perfectly capture the spirit of The Lake District, Cumbria’s towns and villages, the possibilities are endless.

The winning entry of last year’s competition was a photo of Friars Crag at Derwentwater, taken by Dave Brown, who says, “Cumbria has allowed myself and my disabled wife to take the time to recharge and get out and about amongst beautiful relaxing scenery. Being mobility scooter-bound means my wife is restricted to where she can get to see. This was one of our very first walks together and as such will always have a big place in our hearts.”

Cumbria Tourism’s Head of Marketing and Sales, Rachel Tyson, says, “We are looking for exceptional photographs and entrants from all over the world are welcome. Maybe you’ve taken a perfect photo yourself, or perhaps you’ve seen a great shot taken by a friend or family member and you think they should enter it. We look forward to receiving your entries; and good luck!”

With beautiful shots of Buttermere, Honister Pass and Derwentwater winning the contest over the last four years, the bar has been set very high – and the clock is ticking as the deadline for entries looms.

Choosing the winner will be no easy task for the judges though. In previous years the standard of entries has been so high the team has had to burn the midnight oil to come to a final decision. This year, the task ahead is expected to be no different.

If you have a photo that’s got what it takes to promote The Lake District, Cumbria, to the UK, email it to by 11.59pm on Sunday 23 September along with the following information:

  • Where your image was taken.
  • Why is Cumbria #theplacetobe? Let us know why the image means so much to you and why you think it deserves to be on the front cover of the 2019 holiday guide.
  • Your name, email address, location & age.

Full terms & conditions are at the bottom of this page on the GoLakes website. Cumbria Tourism does ask that entrants are not professional photographers. For the purposes of this competition, a professional photographer will be considered somebody who makes more than half their annual income for the sale of their images.

The Cumbria Tourism team will be flying the flag for the county at four key trade shows, starting with one of the international cruise industry’s leading events in Lisbon.

Working alongside Associated British Ports (ABP) Barrow, key staff will be attending Seatrade Cruise Med in Portugal next week (Wednesday 19-Thursday 20 September 2018) to help stimulate awareness of Barrow as a visitor gateway to the county as a whole.

As the county’s official Destination Management Organisation, the Cumbria Tourism team will be highlighting the accessibility of the west coast, the Lake District and other Cumbrian gems to cruise ship operators putting together itineraries for their passengers during potential stop-offs at Barrow.

Seatrade Cruise Med is the start of a packed calendar of events over the coming weeks, with Cumbria Tourism also heading to the Group Travel and Leisure Show at Birmingham’s NEC to represent tourism businesses in early October, in partnership with Northern Print Distribution (NPD).

It’s a chance to forge one-to-one relationships with both domestic and group travel operators on behalf of local tourism businesses, and put the Lake District, Cumbria at the forefront of their minds.

That’s followed by VisitBritain’s annual International Business Exchange – better known as VIBE – and then World Travel Market at London’s Olympia in early November. As well as promoting the county, Cumbria Tourism will be gathering information about the latest travel trends and market insights from a range of global tourism specialists.

Sales and Marketing Manager at Cumbria Tourism, Sue Clarke says, “Over the summer, the team were out and about at large-scale visitor events such as Countryfile Live to spread the word about our wonderful county. Now we’re gearing up for high-profile events with the travel trade, to help convince operators that the Lake District, Cumbria, is a ‘must see’ destination. Strengthening relationships with influential contacts both in the UK and overseas is vital for stimulating our £2.9 billion tourism sector’s future growth and prosperity.”

She adds, “To get this autumn’s events underway, we’re thrilled to be working with one of our new ‘Strategic Partners’ ABP Barrow to raise the profile of the town as a cruise destination.”

Divisional Port Manager at Associated British Ports, Carl Bevan, says, “ABP are working with Cumbria Tourism to look to secure further cruise ships into Barrow. With the ‘around the UK’ market growing and with an optimistic future, we want to support visitors coming to Cumbria through the port. We hope more visitors will explore the Furness Peninsula and the quieter part of this fabulous county.”

Following government warnings that the growth of the so-called ‘sharing economy’ could compromise the safety of customers, Cumbria Tourism is highlighting its Quality Cumbria scheme as a flexible way for the county’s accommodation providers to reassure visitors that they comply with all the latest health and safety regulations.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tourism recently presented a report in Westminster focusing on online platforms like AirBnB, which allow people to rent out rooms to visitors in their homes. It warned that there needs to be clearer rules to ensure that premises comply with the same safety standards as conventional hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs. That includes basic measures such as smoke alarms, CO2 monitors and fire safety equipment.

As the county’s official Destination Management Organisation, Cumbria Tourism is promoting Quality Cumbria as a cost-effective way for tourism businesses to distinguish themselves from residential properties offering short term rentals – and to help visitors avoid confusion about basic safety standards.

Accredited and approved by VisitEngland, Quality Cumbria assessors can carry out independent inspections of any accommodation provider, to check safety and legal requirements, as well as grading on comfort and cleanliness.

Gaynor Anderson oversees Cumbria Tourism’s Quality Cumbria scheme. She says, “Tourism businesses have been expressing concerns about the shared economy and the potential inconsistencies in health and safety standards for some time. Increasingly, they are signing up to Quality Cumbria to demonstrate that they are fully accredited and can give their guests reassurance around health and safety issues.

She adds, “In an increasingly competitive tourism sector, it is vitally important that business can save their guests any unnecessary worry or confusion. Our assessors not only live and work in the county, but they are trained to national VisitEngland standards and can offer annual, independent inspections to provide the peace of mind that both businesses and visitors need.”

Cumbria is proving it’s the place to be once again, with the publication of an all-new guide dedicated to the county’s dog-friendly accommodation and attractions.

30,000 copies of the pocket-sized ‘Dogs Love Cumbria’ guide have been produced by Cumbria Tourism especially for people who don’t want their four-legged friends to miss out on their next holiday or day trip.

More than a quarter* of households across the UK have a dog in the family, putting pet-friendly queries among the most frequent types of enquiry from potential visitors.

Our latest campaign is expected to get tongues – and tails – wagging, with the best of what the county has to offer for dogs compiled in this single, handy guide.

Our Managing Director, Gill Haigh, says, “Our new guide summarises just how dog-friendly our beautiful county is, and we felt it was hugely important to show what a dog-friendly destination we are. They are, after all, part of the family, so why should they miss out on a great day out, or indeed the holiday of a lifetime?”

Waternook lakeside accommodation is one of the tourism businesses to feature in the guide. Owner Dominic Gordon says, “For us, our dogs form a vital part of the family. They’re loving, loyal to a fault, and bring so much happiness into our lives. We would never leave them at home when we holiday in the UK and I believe this is the same for the millions of loving dog owners around the country. The Lake District, Cumbria, is the perfect place to holiday year-round for all the family – especially for ‘man’s best friend’”.

Responsible dog ownership is a key part of the guide, especially during lambing season, when dogs should be kept on leads. Owners are also urged to always make sure they clean up after their dogs in a responsible manner, so the county remains clean and safe for others to enjoy.

You can download a copy of our ‘Dogs Love Cumbria’ guide on Cumbria Tourism’s official visitor website, GoLakes.

Cumbria Tourism – the county’s official Destination Management Organisation – is planning to emulate the 25 million reach achieved in last year’s winter marketing campaign with the launch of a FREE marketing toolkit to support its 2,500 member businesses through the winter months.

The toolkit comprises a wide range of marketing resources including striking imagery and seasonal itineraries for businesses to integrate within their own marketing, to promote themselves and Cumbria as an all-year-round visitor destination.

The toolkit is available to download as part of Cumbria Tourism’s Winter marketing campaign that runs until mid-March 2018, and supports the trade through to the crucial Easter holidays. The aim is to showcase the wide range of events and attractions people can enjoy throughout the winter, by sharing content, images and itineraries to inspire staycations and drum home the message that visitors are welcome at any time of year.

Early indicators show this year’s campaign is already performing particularly strongly with visitors to the winter section of up compared to the the same period last year.

PR successes continue to gather momentum with national travel reviews featuring in The Independent, Evening Standard, The Times and The Sunday Post Scotland promoting Cumbria as the ideal winter destination.

Gill Haigh, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism says: “We are committed to supporting our wonderful tourism businesses during the winter months. Cumbria Tourism is leading this bold high profile national reaching campaign which has real resonance with our target markets. Alongside this our free toolkit is specifically designed to provide practical advice and sharable content for businesses to use and add even more impact for themselves and Cumbria.”

For the second-year businesses are also able to be part of ‘LoveCumbria’, the winter rewards card for visitors. Businesses can put forward offers to the scheme or they can use the cards to encourage winter trade.

If you are interested in finding out more about the work Cumbria Tourism delivers to promote the destination and how to join as a member, please call 01539 822222 or visit

Cumbria’s longest-running trade show is expanding for 2018, thanks to a new partnership between the Lakes Hospitality Association (LHA) and Cumbria Tourism.

The Lakes Hospitality Trade Show was established more than 30 years ago and is now one of the longest-running events of its kind in the North of England, committed to re-investing profits back into the tourism industry.

As part of a brand-new agreement, the LHA is joining forces with Cumbria Tourism – the county’s official destination management organisation – to host the next Lakes Hospitality Trade Show on Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8 March 2018.

Free to attend, the two-day event at the J36 Rural Auction Centre is expanding to include an even wider range of hospitality businesses, including tourist attractions, food and drink suppliers and support services such as IT technology and catering equipment.

For the first time, the show will also include a series of interactive workshops run by Cumbria Tourism aimed at giving participants a new insight into topics including digital marketing, PR and new data protection regulations.

James Tasker, a Director of the Lakes Hospitality Association, says, “The Lakes Hospitality Trade Show has a fantastic heritage and has built up a strong reputation for giving business-owners and decision-makers direct access to a range of products and services which can help them grow and develop. It’s important that the show continues to evolve, and we are teaming up with Cumbria Tourism to help diversify what’s on offer to businesses and reach further into new and emerging markets.

“Our ultimate aim is to make the 2018 Lakes Hospitality Trade Show the biggest and best yet, so we can re-direct profits from the event back into the hospitality sector. Most recently, the money generated has helped to ensure that the Windermere Tourist Information Centre remained open, and we are committed to providing that practical support that the industry needs.”

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, comments, “The new partnership between the Lakes Hospitality Association and Cumbria Tourism is an exciting development, which will bring a fresh dimension to an event which has continued to grow and expand over the past three decades. The Lakes Hospitality Association is well-regarded by businesses and we believe that working together will help us to provide the maximum impact and support that our vibrant and diverse tourism sector deserves.”

To find out more about exhibiting at the Lakes Hospitality Trade Show on 7 and 8 March 2018, contact Show Co-ordinator Sarah Tasker on: 015394 44495 / 07709 152398 /

The long-running Lakes Hospitality Trade Show for business providers, suppliers and supporters should not be confused with the similarly-named North West Hospitality Show taking place at the same venue in early 2018; this is a completely separate event.

Cumbria Tourism is welcoming today’s news that The Department for Transport is to invest in upgrades to the county’s railway infrastructure, as a major step forward for our £2.72 billion visitor economy.

Today, Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport announced further funding to railway infrastructure within Cumbria. In a letter from Lilian Greenwood MP, Chair of the Transport Select Committee, it was announced that from May 2018, passengers to the Lake District will benefit from double the number of direct services to Manchester Airport.

From 2019, Northern Rail intend to introduce brand new trains with more seats and better on-board facilities including air conditioning, toilets, free wi-fi and plug sockets. It will work to explore the deployment of alternative-fuel trains on the route by 2021, improving comfort and on-board facilities for passengers while protecting the sensitive environment of the newly designated Lake District World Heritage Site.

Jim Walker, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism says:
“We’re delighted to hear the Government are investing in the Lakes Line from Oxenholme to Windermere. In recent years the service from Windermere to Manchester Airport has decreased so it’s a very welcome move from Northern and the Government to improve the number of services and the quality of the rolling stock. Cumbria is a world class destination and offers world class facilities to its residents and visitors, so it’s only right that our transport infrastructure should be equally as good. Cumbria Tourism is firmly behind the development of new sustainable travel solutions, to help create greener ways for visitors to enjoy our epic and diverse landscape.”

This package of investment is a part of the Government’s Great North Rail Project, which aims to deliver more frequent trains and new direct services on the West Coast Main Line, with faster journeys and increased frequency into and through Manchester from across the North West. It is hoped the project will improve services for visitors while boosting access to jobs and new opportunities, growing the Northern Powerhouse by improving connections between the Lake District and the Manchester Airport international gateway.

Cumbria Tourism has confirmed Gill Haigh as its new Managing Director.

Currently Director of Marketing and Recruitment at the University of Cumbria, Gill has a 25 year career as a marketing and communications professional and she is a highly experienced, innovative and motivational leader.

Gill brings with her substantial experience across both the private and public sectors, including travel and tourism. Throughout her career she has worked closely with a wide range of Cumbrian partners in various roles supporting economic investment.

Previous jobs include a senior local government position, heading up destination marketing and tourism services for Lancaster City Council. She also spent four years as North West Public Relations Manager for the National Farmers’ Union, having begun her career as a journalist.

Gill says, I am extremely proud to have been appointed as Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, representing a county and sector I have such a strong affinity with.

“Cumbria is a world class visitor destination, and with a second World Heritage site just confirmed for the county, we are entering an exciting new phase that will bring with it enormous benefits for the visitor economy.

“I very much look forward to bringing my experience, enthusiasm and drive to work with the team, the board, members and partners to ensure that together we are in the strongest position to build on and benefit from the great achievements already made and the many opportunities ahead.”

Gill lives near Kirkby Lonsdale with her husband and two children. Together they share a passion for the county where they spend much of their leisure time relaxing and actively enjoying the wide variety of experiences it has to offer.

Gill is due to take up her new position at Cumbria Tourism in September.  In the meantime, Interim Managing Director Jim Walker will continue to head up the team at Cumbria Tourism’s offices in Staveley, near Kendal, following Ian Stephens’ departure earlier this month, after almost 25 years at the helm.



Notes to Editors:

For more information, please contact Cumbria Tourism Press Office on: 01539 822222 or email

Cumbria Tourism is the county’s official destination marketing organisation and is at the heart of the Cumbria Visitor Economy. It is also the largest membership organisation in Cumbria with more than 2,400 members. In 2016, more than 45 million people visited Cumbria, contributing more than £2.72 billion to the local economy and supporting around 63,000 jobs.

For more information about visiting the Lake District, Cumbria, visit:

To find out more about the work of Cumbria Tourism, visit