With just over three weeks to go until Britain leaves the EU, Cumbria Tourism has secured more than £26,000 to help tourism businesses with last minute preparations for a potential ‘No Deal’ Brexit.
The grant has been awarded by the Government’s Business Readiness Fund and will enable Cumbria’s official Destination Management Organisation (DMO) to tackle several key areas of concern for the county’s £3billion tourism industry.
A package of activity now being spearhead by Cumbria Tourism will include a large-scale Brexit event on Tuesday 29 October at Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa, Windermere. Any tourism-related business in the county can sign up for free, to access support and advice from a range of sector-specific experts on the day.
The event is based around research carried out by Cumbria Tourism, which highlights a number of key issues are causing particular anxiety for tourism and hospitality businesses.
- The recruitment and retention of migrant workers, as well as retaining and recruitment staff from both the UK and non-EU countries to ensure vacancies are filled.
- Ensuring that European visitors continue to feel welcome and businesses can confidently advise them about travel arrangements.
- Changes to financial and data protection arrangements.
Following the new funding, Cumbria Tourism will also be hosting two customer-service workshops for front-end staff, such as receptionists, concierges, and bar and restaurant staff.
All three events will be complemented with a practical advice guide for business, offering sector-specific tips and expert advice to overcome the challenges of a potential No Deal Brexit. Additional help and support will be communicated to tourism businesses through webinars, targeted newsletters, a new microsite, public relations and social media.
Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “Our £3billion tourism industry faces a number of very specific challenges around Brexit and this new funding allows us to develop a range of practical events and resources to help businesses navigate through the uncertainty of the coming weeks.
“No-one knows for sure whether Brexit will take place on 31 October as the Government plans, and whether that will be with a formal EU agreement – or without one. With this continuing uncertainty, it is essential that businesses are as prepared as they can be for the different scenarios, so they can remain strong and competitive for the future.”
Cumbria Tourism’s recently appointed President Eric Robson recently named businesses’ growing concerns about current policy on migrant workers post-Brexit as one of his top priorities. He comments, “We know from past experience that Cumbria’s tourism businesses are resilient, but tackling Brexit-related concerns around labour supply, recruitment and skills are fundamental to the future success of our visitor economy.
“Operators are already facing challenges around rising overhead costs and changing consumer habits, so Cumbria Tourism has a vital role to play in helping businesses make sense of the additional challenges – and opportunities – in the days ahead.”