Cumbria Tourism is welcoming the new package of financial measures announced by the Chancellor today to help protect jobs and improve cashflow for businesses, as the tourism and hospitality sector heads into the challenging winter period.

With four months of business already lost, significantly reduced capacity and spending down, the county’s official Destination Management Organisation (DMO) is pleased the Government has responded to both Cumbria Tourism and the wider industry’s pleas for continued intervention to help businesses through the continuing uncertainty and ever-evolving restrictions they are now facing.

Cumbria Tourism’s latest research, revealed last week, shows that business confidence levels have been plummeting and it has been urgently calling for this type of winter support package at the highest levels of government.

Gill Haigh, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, says, “The devil is in the detail, but we  are pleased that today’s statement acknowledges the very specific challenges for the tourism sector, given that businesses were unable to open for almost four months in the usually buoyant summer season and are now facing the longer-term impact of a £1.5billion loss to Cumbria’s tourism industry amid continuing restrictions and uncertainty.

 “Initial responses from our member businesses suggest the new measures should have a positive effect on cashflow for many tourism operators. The continued reduction in VAT will be particularly welcomed, there is good news for those who have taken out Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans and it’s great to see employers being actively supported to bring people back to work. We are certainly looking forward to hearing more detail about today’s announcement, particularly around the new successor loan scheme planned for January.

At the same time, we need to recognise that there are concerns it may be too late for some businesses, and some will continue to find it difficult to access the new measures and there is a question mark over what happens if there is another national lockdown. This is something we will be monitoring closely.

“Cumbria Tourism’s research team will be continuing its in-depth business tracker research over the coming months to ensure we have strong, up-to-date information about the impact of the new measures. We can then use this evidence to directly inform national decision-makers and make the strongest possible case for Cumbria if additional targeted support is needed further down the line.”

Latest government restrictions announced by the Prime Minister this afternoon will bring additional challenges for the tourism sector, according to the county’s official Destination Management Organisation, Cumbria Tourism.

Following almost four months of closures and a collective loss of £1.5billion in revenue from Cumbria’s tourism and hospitality industry, visitor spending is still significantly down and business have only just started to get moving again in recent weeks – on average at just 75% capacity of what they would normally be.

Reacting to the Prime Minister’s statement, the Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says: “The priority, of course, is keeping everyone safe. But with Boris Johnson warning that the latest restrictions could last another six months – alongside the imminent end of the furlough scheme – there are real concerns about the long-term negative impact for businesses as they head into the traditionally quieter winter months. We continue to urge the Government to listen to our calls for financial intervention to support the industry.

“Tourism businesses have already worked incredibly hard over the last couple of months to adapt, innovate and ensure they can provide COVID-safe environments, by taking a wide range of precautions to not only protect staff and customers, but also to provide a strong visitor experience. We know they will continue adapting and some of the new rules, for instance on face coverings, may actually provide additional reassurance for visitors.

“That said, we had previously been moving towards more relaxed measures for events, conferences and weddings, so it is disappointing that tighter restrictions are being enforced on the size of weddings.  Many venues have put a huge amount of time and effort into making weddings viable, so this will be a big blow for them.

“Even before these new restrictions were announced, our latest business tracker research showed that average spend is significantly down and business confidence is plummeting.

It is now clear that the tourism industry will continue to be impacted for many months to come and our renewed calls for financial support to help jobs, businesses and customers through the challenging winter period are more critical than ever.”

Following a question from Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron during this afternoon’s session in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister has agreed to arrange a meeting between Mr Farron, the relevant Minister and Cumbria Tourism to discuss a proposed package of support for the industry.

To help strengthen the case being highlighted at Westminster, businesses and customers alike are again being urged to sign the MP’s joint petition with Cumbria Tourism here, calling for urgent intervention to support the tourism industry.

Latest Cumbria Tourism research reveals that business confidence levels are plummeting as the industry heads towards winter – prompting renewed calls for a winter package to support the county’s tourism industry and save jobs.

This latest research follows a petition launched earlier this summer by Cumbria Tourism alongside Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron, who represents the constituency with the highest density of tourism and hospitality businesses in Cumbria. The petition highlighted the growing need for greater financial support and has since received cross-Parliamentary backing from MPs both in Cumbria and country-wide, as well as the Lake District National Park, the Tourism Alliance and other visitor destinations across England.

More than 150 tourism-related businesses from across the county have taken part in Cumbria Tourism’s latest in-depth survey, carried out in conjunction with independent chartered accountants Lamont Pridmore. Almost half of respondents don’t feel confident that their business can survive the next six months, and nearly two-thirds don’t feel confident about their longer-term survival.

It also highlights that:

  • 10% of tourism businesses are still unable to reopen in a viable way
  • Average capacity per business is just 75% of what it would normally be
  • Average spend is significantly down
  • Staffing capacities are reduced and 43% of businesses are keeping some staff on furlough
  • 75% of businesses will not be recruiting – up from 50% a month ago
  • 23% of businesses plan redundancies, with management posts amongst the most common to go.

These results came before the Government’s latest Rule of Six announcement, which it is already impacting on bookings. Now, as we head into autumn and winter, and with the added complexities of evolving government restrictions, it is clear that the industry will continue to be impacted and will need to keep adapting. As a result, the organisation is now teaming up with Mr Farron – alongside fellow Cumbria MPs and the Lake District Hotel Association (LDHA) – to renew its plea for urgent Government intervention to support jobs, businesses and customers through the challenging winter months.

The collective ask from the Government includes:

  1. Protect Jobs:
  • Support to help fund hospitality tourism jobs, November 2020 – March 2021
  • Funding to support skills and business innovation, efficiency and development.
  1. Support Businesses:
  • Temporary extension of existing schemes
    • VAT rate extension – the UK has some of the highest visitor taxes in the world
    • Business rates holiday extension
    • Business mortgage holiday extension
    • Extension of business grant funding
    • Extension of licensing and planning relaxations to support COVID-safe trading and extend the season
  • Review Travel Package Regulations to help businesses work together to create holidays that appeal to visitors.
  • A consistent UK wide approach to under 12s in the Rule of 6 changes
  • Keep under constant review existing guidance and increase flexibility of group numbers when and where appropriate
  • Review structure and funding of strategic Destination Management Organisations and regionally devolved marketing budgets to strengthen local recovery.
  1. Support Customers
  • Reintroduce ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ type initiatives during the winter months.

 

Gill Haigh, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, comments, “As we head into the traditionally quieter autumn and winter months, and with the added uncertainty about the continuing impact of COVID-19, this new research shows precisely why this is such a critical time for our industry.  The closures between March and July wiped more than £1.5billion from the county’s economy and saw parts of Cumbria identified as the ‘England’s furlough capital’.

 “Although most businesses were able to start reopening and welcome back staycationers from 4 July onwards, the results show there has been no automatic bounce back. Even before last week’s announcement regarding the rule of six and the implications this has for the hospitality sector and its customers, business confidence was plummeting.

 “A number of crucial markets remain decimated, including international visitors, group travel, corporate, large parties, events and weddings. We had hoped to see some relaxation of corporate and possibly other restrictions, but this has now been paused. In July, serviced occupancy levels were on average just half of what they should be at one of the busiest times of the year.  We need continued Government intervention to support businesses and Cumbria Tourism will continue to make the county’s voice heard at the highest levels as we continue to call for urgent action.”

Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, adds, “We are of course very grateful for the support so far which has helped the majority of businesses. Sadly though, we have already lost a number of businesses and others cannot yet open and trade viably. Easter to October is when tourism businesses make the money that should see them through the winter. This year more than half that season was lost. Even after 4 July consumer confidence took time to return, staff and visitor safety has reduced capacity, reduced spend and increased costs, plus a number of markets cannot yet return.

 “Now, with the prospect of schemes such as furlough coming to an end, many are facing a real cliff edge. That is why we are renewing our calls for a package of winter support to protect jobs and help give the confidence businesses need to help them survive the winter months.”

Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border, comments, “The support that the Government has provided through this crisis has been phenomenal and a lifeline for many businesses.  I am pleased that the Government has responded to our calls for targeted support for the Tourist and Hospitality Sectors such as the Discretionary Grants, the VAT reduction and the hugely successful Eat Out To Help Out Scheme.  Whilst I acknowledge that many of the schemes cannot continue, I am working with colleagues across the House to urge the Government to keep these sectors, which may be slower to recover, under review, with additional targeted government support provided if necessary to help them through to the next full season.”

Ben Mayou, Chairman of the Lake District Hotel Association, says, “Government initiatives such as furlough, grants, loans, VAT reductions and the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme have all been welcomed by the industry. Without them, many more jobs would have been lost.  But as the main season now recedes and we head towards winter – generally a loss-making time of year for the industry – business confidence is plummeting. With no way of making up the income lost and the furlough scheme due to end on 31 October, we agree with the findings from Cumbria Tourism’s research that business survival confidence has worsened and back calls for this package of continued support.”

Cumbria Tourism is welcoming the return of England’s largest festival of history and culture this week, with dozens of free events taking place across the county as part of the annual ‘Heritage Open Days’ initiative – many of which are being held online.

Nationwide, thousands of places across the country throw open their doors to celebrate their heritage, community, and history every year – giving visitors the chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences free of charge.

Established in 1994, this year’s programme runs until Sunday 20 September and for the first time will consist of both in-person and digital events from the comfort of their own homes.

This year’s theme is ‘Hidden Nature’, which offers an opportunity to discover the nature that exists on our doorsteps. Events include a virtual tour of Lancaster Canal’s northern reaches, a National Trust ranger-led walk at Loughrigg, a guided walk to the Stainton Aqueduct at Crooklands, tours of West Cumbria’s churches and many more.

Clare Huggonson from Sedbergh’s Farfield Mill says, “We are fortunate at Farfield Mill having lots of space, so visitors will find it easy to socially distance. However, we wanted to be able to share our heritage with everyone, so we now have our displays online for all to enjoy, with more details on our website.”

Carlisle Cathedral has reported high levels of enthusiasm, with people being given the chance to enter part of the building which is usually off-limits, with two tours already fully-booked. Sarah Cameron, Head of Heritage Learning, says, “It is exciting to see how we can adapt to the current climate and engage our audiences in our heritage once again. Through the tours, visitors will gain behind the scenes access to one of Carlisle Cathedral’s hidden gems, the Prior’s Room and its stunning Tudor painted ceiling. This space is not usually open to the public so we think this will be a really special event.”

Adam Bewley, the Cathedral’s Head of Visitor Services says, “We are thrilled to be able to offer exclusive tours of our amazing Prior’s Tower for Heritage Open Days. Since reopening the Cathedral after lockdown, we have seen our visitor number increase week after week, which shows there is a real interest from local people in the cathedral’s heritage. Although the Prior’s Tower tours were booked within a few days of becoming available, the Cathedral is open seven days a week and is always free to enter.”

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “Cumbria Tourism has always been a firm supporter of the festival, which celebrates our fantastic architecture and culture, offering free access to properties that are usually closed to the public or normally charge for admission. The events fit perfectly with our work to encourage people to visit a new place or experience something for the first time while staying safe and adhering to the government’s latest social distancing measures.”

You can see Cumbria’s full listings here, and remember to book-ahead, directly with the organisers of each event before attending.

A new High Court ruling could be a positive step forward for some tourism businesses who were denied business interruption insurance at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Cumbria Tourism – the county’s official Destination Management Organisation (DMO).

Judges in a test case brought by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) yesterday ruled that some insurers should have paid out for losses caused by lockdown.

The test case used a sample of 21 different types of policy wording from eight different insurers. While the judgement is long and complex, it concludes that most – but not all – of the ‘disease clauses’ in the insurance policies considered do provide cover for businesses.

Earlier this summer Cumbria Tourism worked alongside partners including the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) to proactively gather local case studies and evidence around business insurance. The research revealed that 75% of all tourism businesses were unable to make a claim, despite 93% having insurance cover for infectious diseases.

Therefore, this new ruling provides a glimmer of hope for tourism operators who felt their claims should have been considered by insurance companies.

Jim Walker, Chairman of Cumbria Tourism, says, “Cumbria Tourism has lobbied very hard to highlight this issue at a national level and I think this latest High Court ruling will be cautiously welcomed by those tourism operators who paid their business interruption insurance in good faith and feel they lost out at the beginning of the pandemic.

“We hope the judgement will help to resolve the uncertainty being faced by policyholders, but at the same time, it is likely to just be the start of a lengthy process and it is still unclear how many more policies it will ultimately affect. The FCA and defendant insurers are now considering exactly what the High Court means and we will certainly be keeping a close eye on this as it progresses.”

Keswick B&B Owner, Gary Lovatt, is the FSB’s national lead on the issue of business interruption insurance. He says, “This is a win for small businesses, but possibly only a partial win. There is still the possibility for either side in this case to go to the Supreme Court to appeal, but given that the High Court has very speedily given its judgement in this complex matter, we hope that insurance companies will not prolong the pain by taking this to appeal. Although the potential payments may be, in general, relatively small amounts, they could be fundamental to some businesses’ survival.”

Communities across Cumbria are being urged to make use of the Government’s new ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme – running on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout August – to help local food and drink businesses get back on their feet.

As the county’s official Destination Marketing Organisation, Cumbria Tourism says the 50% discounts are a great way not only for local people to get back out and rediscover the range of foodie treats on their doorstep, but also to show their practical support for local tourism and hospitality businesses which were closed during lockdown.

 Cumbria’s visitor economy supports 65,500 jobs in the county and Cumbria Tourism’s research has already revealed an estimated loss of almost £2billion across the industry so far this year. It’s hoped that ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ will provide a much-needed boost by increasing customer confidence not just about eating out, but also about combining meals with day trips or overnight stays to other parts of Cumbria they may have missed in recent months.

The Lake District, Cumbria is renowned for its world class food and this new government-subsidised initiative is a great opportunity for all businesses which offer eat-in food to get back on the road to recovery,” says Jim Walker, Chairman of Cumbria Tourism.

“As well as directly supporting food and drink businesses, we hope the Eat Out to Help Out  scheme will encourage both residents and visitors to rediscover our diverse and inspirational county, or perhaps to seek out parts of Cumbria they haven’t explored before. Businesses have been working hard to implement all the necessary health and safety measures, to reassure everyone that they can enjoy a great food experience at the same time as helping to safeguard local jobs and livelihoods.”

Jo Lappin, Chair of the Business and Economic Response and Recovery Group and Chief Executive of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, adds, “Eat Out to Help Out is a really positive way to support local businesses and help our restaurants and pubs to get back on their feet after lockdown. It a great opportunity for everybody to get out and about, sample everything that is on offer and treat themselves and friends and family to a meal at the same time.”

During August the Brockhole Café and The Gaddum Restaurant are participating in the Eat out to Help Out initiative.

Sam Mason, General Manager of Brockhole on Windermere says, “This is a fantastic way for people to support the Lake District hospitality industry while enjoying great food. So if you want to feed the family after a busy morning of activities at our 30 acre Brockhole site, or you want to treat yourself to a sumptuous afternoon tea, enjoying one of the best views in the Lake District then please book your table with us.  We’re thrilled to be welcoming visitors back and are proud that we have received official Good to Go accreditation from Visit England.”

The Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme will give people a discount of up to 50% when eating or drinking soft drinks in participating cafes, pubs, restaurants and hotels Monday-Wednesday, from 3 to 31 August. The maximum discount available is £10 per person, with establishments deducting the money off the bill and claiming it back from the Government.

Cumbria Tourism is promoting participating Cumbrian businesses on its visitor facing website www.visitlakedistrict.com – which people can also use to plan other activities across the county – and is asking customers to plan ahead and book in advance.

The Government has also launched a restaurant finder to enable diners to search for participating eateries within a 5 mile radius of a specific postcode.

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Major investment in Hadrian’s Wall will boost Cumbrian tourism and improve visitor experience

Following a £400,000 investment from the government, the Hadrian’s Wall Connect Project is set to boost tourism numbers in 2016 through a range of improvements to make it easier for visitors to access the unique World Heritage Site.

The Hadrian’s Wall Connect Project is being delivered through the Hadrian’s Wall Marketing Partnership which includes Northumberland County Council, Carlisle City Council, Northumberland National Park Authority, Northumberland Tourism, Cumbria Tourism, NewcastleGateshead Initiative and English Heritage. All these organisations have been working together to develop transport links and enrich business and tourist information along the corridor of Hadrian’s Wall.

The £400,000 grant led by VisitEngland has helped to secure the popular Go North East AD122 bus service for a further four years and will also see the introduction of ‘Hadrian’s Wall Welcome Hubs’ at key visitor locations including Carlisle, Haltwhistle and Hexham railway stations.

The Hubs will provide visitors with direction at key points and improve access and information about some of the lesser known sites on Hadrian’s Wall such as the Epiacum Roman Fort at Alston and the Senhouse Roman Museum in Maryport.

The Project has also invested in the design and development of new website and marketing materials to promote the Wall as a leading tourist destination.

The new website at www.visithadrianswall.co.uk is optimised to function on mobile devices to help visitors plan their trips in real-time. It offers everything from pre and post arrival information, to event details, places to visit and travel information to improve connectivity between historical and local business sites along the Wall.

Other improvements include new road signage at key points and increased promotion of existing public transport options to fill gaps in the current provision of public transport.
Councillor Val Tyler, Policy Board Member for Community Infrastructure and Culture at Northumberland County Council, said: “Northumberland is a proud county with a proud history. Hadrian’s Wall marked the northern boundary of the Roman Empire for nearly 400 years and we take our duty to protect it, manage it and educate people about the monument very seriously.

The Wall draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to the North of England every year and we owe it to businesses and service providers to ensure that the infrastructure is in place to enable visitors to access our key attractions. I would like to thank VisitEngland for their funding and I am delighted that we have been able to deliver some big improvements in a short time scale.

The 150 mile Hadrian’s Wall frontier zone runs from the western Roman coastal defences at Ravenglass, through Whitehaven, Workington and Maryport to Bowness-on-Solway, along Hadrian’s Wall through Carlisle and Hexham to Newcastle, Wallsend and South Shields.

There were over 30 forts on the Roman frontier across the North of England, including 16 along the line of the 73 mile wall itself plus coastal, outpost and supply forts. Along the wall there were around 80 milecastles and 160 turrets, a ditch to the north and the great defensive vallum earthwork to the south.

VisitEngland Director Patricia Yates said: “Hadrian’s Wall is one of England’s greatest tourism assets and this investment to improve the visitor experience will drive more domestic and inbound trips, benefiting local businesses and communities and spreading the economic benefits of tourism across the region.

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Photo caption: The funding has secured the Go North East AD122 bus service for a further four years and created a new website to help visitors plan their trips in real-time.

For images, interviews and information relating to The Hadrian’s Wall Connect Project, contact Round Table Solutions Ltd: Amy Maughan E: amy@roundts.co.uk M: 07980 703566 Office: 01670 338 391, John McCabe E: john@roundts.co.uk M: 07527 150 824 Office: 01670 338 391.

Notes to Editors:

Hadrian’s Wall Marketing Partnership includes:
English Heritage www.english-heritage.org.uk
Northumberland County Council www.northumberland.gov.uk
Carlisle City Council www.carlisle.gov.uk
Northumberland Tourism www.northumberlandtourism.org.uk
Cumbria Tourism www.cumbriatourism.org
National Trust www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hadrians-wall
Tyne & Wear Museums www.twmuseums.org.uk
Vindolanda Trust www.vindolanda.com
Northumberland National Park www.northumberlandnationalpark.org.uk

English Heritage – is the custodian of over 400 historic monuments, buildings and sites through which we bring the story of England to life for over 10 million visitors each year.

The Hadrian’s Wall frontier is part of the transnational World Heritage Site – Frontiers of the Roman Empire – which includes the Antonine Wall in Scotland and the Upper German/Raetian Limes. This represents the borderline of the Roman Empire at its furthest extent in the 2nd century AD. It stretched from the west coast of northern Britain through Europe to the Black Sea and from there to the Red Sea and across North Africa to the Atlantic coast.

The Hadrian’s Wall Partnership Board is responsible for coordinating management of the Hadrian’s Wall component of the FRE WHS including protection, public understanding and sustainable development. The 2015 – 2019 Management Plan was published on the www.visithadrianswall.co.uk website earlier this year. It sets out the significance of the World Heritage Site and policies and priority actions to protect this significance and to provide benefit to visitors and local communities. John Scott is the Management Plan coordinator and can be contacted at john.scott@northumberland.gov.uk Hadrian’s Wall Connect provides an ideal opportunity to deliver Management Plan objectives, to strengthen partnership working, to assist businesses by addressing some key issues.

Hadrian’s Wall Country is the brand used to promote the World Heritage Site to visitors. The brand was introduced in 2002 by the Hadrian’s Wall Tourism Partnership and conveys and reinforces values that encourage visitors, linking the World Heritage Site to the rural and urban landscape through which it runs. Larger than the official boundary of the WHS, Hadrian’s Wall Country covers an area approximately ten miles north and south of the frontier and five miles in from the Cumbrian coast. The Hadrian’s Wall Country identity helps to locate and promote the WHS via information on the www.visithadrianswall.co.uk website, and the Hadrian’s Wall Country bus, railway line, volunteers, walking and cycling routes, and local produce sub-brands.

Uniquely for a heritage site, travelling and movement are key parts of the Hadrian’s Wall experience. Filling in the gaps of transport provision, ensuring sustainability of current transport provision, orientating visitors and ensuring the standardising of pre and post arrival information are essential to a quality visitor experience.

VisitEngland is the national tourism agency – a non-departmental public body funded by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), VisitBritain/VisitEngland* plays a unique role in building England’s tourism product, raising Britain’s profile worldwide, increasing the volume and value of tourism exports and developing England and Britain’s visitor economy.
Working with a wide range of partners in both the UK and overseas, our mission is to grow the volume and value of inbound tourism across the nations and regions of Britain and to develop world-class English tourism product to support our growth aspirations. See more at: https://www.visitbritain.org/overview#sthash.hKWeQiaE.dpuf
* VisitBritain/VisitEngland are legally constituted as the British Tourist Authority (BTA) under the Development of Tourism Act 1969. – See more at: https://www.visitbritain.org/overview#sthash.hKWeQiaE.dpuf

Finalists unveiled for the 14th Cumbria Tourism awards

Over the last month the Judges have been meeting to go through the entries submitted for this year’s Cumbria Tourism Awards to draw up a shortlist of finalists across the 16 categories.

The award categories celebrate the huge range and diversity of Cumbria’s tourism industry and are open to a whole range of tourism related businesses including; hotels, B&Bs, holiday parks, pubs, visitor attractions, events, businesses and tourism staff, which make up the county’s successful tourism industry.

The majority of the winners from the awards will go on to represent the county at the Visit England Awards for Excellence in 2017.

Brand new categories for 2016 include the Wedding Venue of the Year Award, recognising those businesses which host weddings of exceptional quality and provide an outstanding service or create unique and innovative experiences for the couple and their guests.
The B&B of the Year Award will celebrate Cumbria’s best smaller, family or owner run B&Bs with 5 or fewer letting rooms and the Guest Accommodation of the Year Award will now be aimed at those larger guest houses, inns or restaurants with rooms which may offer a wider range of services to their guests.

The lucky shortlisted businesses in each category will attend a glitzy black tie award ceremony and compete for the honour of being recognised as the best in Cumbria in their respective category at the awards presentation. This year the awards evening will take place on Wednesday 22 June at Cartmel Racecourse and catered by Rowley’s Offside.

Ian Stephens, Managing Director at Cumbria Tourism, said:
“It has been a fantastic year for entries with exceptional quality shown across all the categories. This has made it very difficult for the shortlisting panel to select the finalists and has resulted in an unprecedented number of businesses going forward as finalists. We appreciate that recent months have been a very difficult time for businesses but the overwhelming response to promote themselves and enter into the awards process shows once again the commitment and determination of tourism businesses in Cumbria and the immense pride in what they do.”

Cumbria Tourism would like to thank their sponsors for making the event possible, they include: Armstrong Watson, Colliers International, Lamont Pridmore, Cumberland Business, Out of Eden, G1 Colourmedia, H&H Reeds Printers, Burnetts Solicitors, Enterprise Answers, NatWest Commercial Banking, Napthens Solicitors, University of Cumbria and Chris Brammall Ltd.

The 2016 finalists are:

Large Hotel of the Year sponsored by Armstrong Watson
• North Lakes Hotel & Spa, Penrith
• Castle Green Hotel, Kendal
• Waterhead, Ambleside

Small Hotel of the Year sponsored by Colliers International
• Appleby Manor Hotel & Garden Spa, Appleby
• The Leathes Head Hotel, Borrowdale
• Sharrow Bay, Ullswater
• Merewood Country House Hotel, Windermere

Guest Accommodation of the Year sponsored by Lamont Pridmore
• The Sun Inn, Kirkby Lonsdale
• Augill Castle, South Stainmore
• Askhall Hall, Askham
• Applegarth Villa & Restaurant, Windermere

B&B of the Year sponsored by Cumberland Business
• Whitrigg House, Clifton
• Rivergarth, Eamont Bridge

Self-Catering Holiday of the Year sponsored by Out of Eden
• Waternook Lakeside Accommodation, Howtown
• Mill House Cottages, Kirkby Lonsdale
• Hollybank Holiday Cottages, Gilcrux
• Beech House Holidays, Dalston

Holiday Park of the Year sponsored by NatWest Commercial Banking
• Park Cliffe Camping and Caravan Estate, Windermere
• Park Foot Caravan and Camping Park, Pooley Bridge
• National Trust Great Langdale Campsite, Great Langdale

Tourism Experience of the Year sponsored by Cumbria Tourism
• Zeffirellis and Fellinis, Ambleside
• Lakeland Segway, Cartmel
• The Lakes Distillery, Bassenthwaite
• Go Ape Grizedale, Grizedale Forest

Tourism Event of the Year sponsored by G1 Colourmedia
• Big Chill Swim International World Cup & World Open Water Swimming Awards
• The Winter Droving
• Muncaster Halloween Week
• Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy at Ullswater Yacht Club

Visitor Attraction of the Year sponsored by H&H Reeds Printers
• The Lake District Coast Aquarium, Maryport
• Steam Yacht Gondola, Coniston
• Lakeland Climbing Centre, Kendal

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year sponsored by Burnetts Solicitors
• Wray Castle, National Trust
• Grizedale Forest
• Ullswater Steamers
• Windermere Lake Cruises

Taste Cumbria sponsored by Enterprise Answers

Taste Cumbria Dining Experience of the Year
• The Lamplighter Dining Rooms, Windermere
• The Forest Side, Grasmere
• Bistro at the Lakes Distillery, Bassenthwaite
• The Cottage in the Wood, Whinlatter Forest
• George and Dragon, Clifton

Taste Cumbria Retailer of the Year
• Cranstons Cumbrian Food Hall, Penrith
• Grasmere Gingerbread, Grasmere
• Low Sizergh Barn, Nr Kendal

Wedding Venue of the Year sponsored by Napthens Solicitors
• Augill Castle, South Stainmore
• The Daffodil Hotel & Spa, Grasmere
• The Wild Boar Inn, Grill and Smokehouse, Windermere
• Askham Hall, Askham

Sustainable Tourism Award sponsored by University of Cumbria
• Cedar Manor Hotel, Windermere
• Rydal Hall, Rydal
• Ullswater Steamers
• FSC Blencathra Centre, Threlkeld

The Sheila Hensman Award for Outstanding Contribution to Excellence
• Hilary Hutchinson, Lakeland Chauffeurs, Windermere
• Nico Chieze, Askham Hall, Askham
• Tom Panter, Merewood Country House Hotel, Windermere

Tourism Pub of the Year
• The Wheatsheaf, Brigsteer
• The Cuckoo Brow Inn, Far Sawrey
• The Beer Hall at Hawkshead Brewery, Staveley

New Tourism Business Award
• Threlkeld Coffee Shop, Threlkeld
• Casterton Footgolf, Casterton
• Claife Viewing Station, National Trust, Claife

To find out more about the Cumbria Tourism Awards visit www.cumbriatourism.org/awards

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Notes to Editors:

1. For more information please contact Cumbria Tourism Press Office on 01539 825019 or email pressoffice@cumbriatourism.org

2. The Cumbria Tourism Awards are organised on behalf of Cumbria Tourism on a ‘not for profit’ basis by 3 local businesses. The competition and event is financed is solely through the generosity of the sponsors and ticket sales

3. The 2016 Cumbria Tourism Awards sponsors are:
Armstrong Watson – Large Hotel of the Year
Colliers International – Small Hotel of the Year
Lamont Pridmore – Guest Accommodation of the Year
Cumberland Business – B&B of the Year
Out of Eden – Self-Catering Holiday of the Year
Cumbria Tourism – Tourism Experience of the Year
G1 Colourmedia – Tourism Event
H&H Reeds Printers – Small Visitor Attraction of the Year
Burnetts Solicitors – Large Visitor Attraction of the Year
Enterprise Answers – Taste Cumbria
NatWest Commercial Banking – Holiday Park of the Year
Napthens Solicitors – Wedding Venue of the Year
University of Cumbria – Sustainable Tourism Award
Chris Brammall Ltd – Awards maker

4. Cumbria Tourism is the lead organisation for tourism in the county 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 2015, over 43 million people visited Cumbria contributing more than £2.62 billion to the local economy and support around 61,000 jobs.

5. To find out more about the work of Cumbria Tourism, visit www.cumbriatourism.org

The 2016 Official Guide to the Lake District, Cumbria is out now!

Cumbria Tourism the official tourist board for the county, is pleased to announce that the 2016 Official Guide to the Lake District, Cumbria is now available and ready to inspire holiday makers to book their visit and plan fantastic days out in our stunning county.

This year’s front cover image was chosen through a highly successful online #theplacetobe competition where we invited fans of the area to share their favourite image on our Facebook Page
The Lake District, Cumbria. The competition took place in 2015 and attracted more than 400 entries capturing the true beauty of the area through the eyes of fans from all over the world. However it was Mike Whitehead’s stunning image of Buttermere from the summit of Fleetwith Pike that made the short list before coming out on top in the public vote.

Competition winner Mike Whitehead says;

I am delighted to have won the Cumbria Tourism 2016 Holiday Guide photography competition. Especially as so many other fantastic photos were submitted and shared on the official Lake District, Cumbria Facebook Page. The first time I ascended Fleetwith Pike was from the Honister Pass direction, and I will never forget the moment I reached the summit to be greeted with this view. Breathtaking! I am really looking forward to seeing my image on the front cover of the guide and it being distributed so far.

The 2016 guide features key information on what to do and where to stay. From luxury lakeside retreats, cosy country inns, beautiful B&Bs and quirky pod retreats not forgetting the many museums, independent shops and mouth-watering cafes and restaurants we have on offer.

Produced by Cumbria Tourism, over 150,000 copies of the guide have been printed and over 160,000 e-mail alerts have also been sent to our visitor database letting them know the all new guide is out.

Ian Stephens, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism says;
We are extremely pleased with the 2016 Official Guide to the Lake District, Cumbria and congratulations to Mike Whitehead for sharing his fantastic photograph with us. The image captures the true beauty of the Northern Lakes and it will definitely help to influence many to book their holidays here.”

Ian continues;
Despite the dominance of internet in travel and tourism, Cumbria’s Official Holiday Guide continues to play an important part in decision making when consumers are planning their holidays or short breaks, many people still prefer the printed format and we continue to receive a high volume of requests for the guide throughout the year.”

Copies can be downloaded direct from www.golakes.co.uk/downloads/guide-request.aspx or by calling Cumbria Tourism on 01539 822222

The 2016 guide is also supported by a range of other marketing materials including; 420,000 copies of the 2016 Attractions Guide, distributed throughout the county in high footfall areas and at a number of key locations outside the county. Along with the increasingly popular Food and Drink Guide that showcases a whole host of tasty places to eat and drink across Cumbria, including tempting tearooms, fantastic farm shops and award winning restaurants.

If you want to know more about the work of Cumbria Tourism and how you can get involved benefit from these key marketing initiatives please call the team on 01539 822222

Ends

Notes to Editors:

1. For more information please contact Sarah Jones in the Cumbria Tourism Press Office on 01539 825052 or email pressoffice@cumbriatourism.org
2. With over 40 years of continuous service, Cumbria Tourism is the lead organisation for tourism in the county and is at the heart of the Cumbria visitor economy. It has a membership of more than 2,600 members who in turn employ thousands of employees.
3. In 2014, over 41 million people visited Cumbria contributing more than £2.44 billion to the local economy and support around 58,000 jobs.
4. To find out more about the work of Cumbria Tourism, visit www.cumbriatourism.org