With VisitBritain pledging to increase the value of the country’s tourism to £35 billion by 2025, Cumbria Tourism is stepping up its efforts to promote the county and increase its reputation and popularity to international visitors.
Following its involvement with a successful trade mission to India earlier this month Cumbria Tourism have just returned from Britain and Ireland Marketplace (BIM) on 28th January, a one-day workshop connecting international tour operators and travel buyers with tourism products from across the UK and Ireland. With attendees including key decision-makers it is a fantastic opportunity to highlight Cumbria and the Lake District, particularly its less well-known regions, to operators looking to build new itineraries.
Next week, ambassadors from the county will be attending the UKinbound Annual Convention 2020 in Bristol from 5th February, attending debates and seminars on crafting a successful international marketing strategy before returning to the county to share their insights and help make Cumbria even more attractive to international travellers. The event will also provide the opportunity to build new relationships with the travel trade through B2B workshops.
Tourism business across the county are also being invited to get involved in attracting and welcoming overseas customers. Alongside VisitEngland, Cumbria Tourism is hosting a free workshop on 10th March at the Villa, Levens – Taking England to the World. Attendees will learn key skills on how to expand into international markets, advertise their unique selling points and how to best welcome and accommodate overseas. To learn more and reserve a free place visit www.cumbriatourism.org/events/.
This increased focus on international visitors comes hot on the heels of the English Lake District India Forum’s attendance at the VisitBritain trade mission to Mumbai and Delhi. 13 local representatives from the newly created forum, coordinated by Cumbria Tourism, have been meeting and networking with more than 300 representatives from key travel and tour operators looking to expand their UK itineraries. 2019 (Jan-Sept) was a record-breaker for inbound Indian visitor visits and spend. Overall, there were a record 452,000 visits from India to the UK in those months in 2019, up 13% year on year. Those visitors spent a record £499 million, up 44% on January –September 2018 (International Passenger Survey, Office for National Statistics), and it is hoped that the mission will inspire operators to include the Lake District within their products.
India saw some strong results in 2019 so far, setting new records in both visits and spend for January to September.
Francine Bult, Sales and Marketing Executive at Cumbria Tourism, was part of the mission. She said “it was fantastic to be art of such a positive event and having so many Lake District businesses attending together really strengthened the area in the minds of the representatives we met. The Lake District has so much to offer travellers from India, and we’re confident that everyone who visits will find something they’ll fall in love with and remember forever.
“Our region is highly accessible for travellers arriving into the UK through London, Scotland and the North West and even before the trip ended we were already hearing how they were planning to add the Lake District to their itineraries. Cumbria is a huge draw for Indian tourists looking for an authentic British experience and we look forward to welcoming our overseas guests very soon.”
Inbound visitors to Cumbria spend on average of £150 more per party per trip than internal tourist (Cumbria Tourism Visitor Survey 2018) and a focus on new and developing overseas markets has the potential to increase the strength of the county’s visitor economy, without an exponential effect on overall footfall, especially if coupled with encouraging visitors to explore outside of the traditional areas.