Cumbria Tourism, the county’s Destination Management Organisation, has welcomed today’s Government announcements regarding the reopening of the industry, which it says will bring incredible relief for hundreds of Cumbria’s businesses and thousands of employees.
Jim Walker, Chair of the organisation which represents approximately 2,500 member businesses, said: “By 4 July the county’s hospitality sector will have been closed for three and a half months, during the busiest part of the year, with close to £2bn lost from the county’s economy and hundreds of jobs lost with thousands more at risk. Our evidence to government was clear that the difference between 2m and 1m was the difference between operating viably and not and today’s relaxation announcement will make a significant difference to business viability and save local jobs. Cumbria Tourism has stood firm alongside the health professionals and police when this was required to protect the health of local residents and we are now keen for a safe and phased recovery towards some type of normality to begin.”
Gill Haigh, Managing Director added: “I am particularly proud of the sector’s response throughout this pandemic, locking down sometimes large and complex businesses overnight, safeguarding communities, adapting business models where possible to support jobs and provide much needed services to the community, supplying accommodation for Covid-19 key workers, and rigorous planning to develop innovative approaches and collaborating with one another to ensure staff and customer safety combined with enjoyable and memorable experiences. We await the government guidance which, at long last, will allow them to make the final preparations before reopening a week on Saturday.
“Now, at long, long last, we look forward to warmly welcoming back our visitors and working with them to ensure they take additional measures themselves, alongside businesses, to be guaranteed safe and enjoyable experiences. This will include planning ahead, booking in advance, thinking about where to visit and when, paying by contactless, washing hands regularly, keeping to the social distancing guidelines. We also welcome the new national visitor reassurance accreditation scheme which Cumbria Tourism has championed and as Destination Management Organisation for the county, have been tasked by Visit England, to help roll out throughout Cumbria.
“Inevitably we don’t expect is a sudden return to normal, it will be phased. Our visitor research tells us that only about half feel confident to return immediately. That’s why Cumbria Tourism’s Recovery Campaign – ‘The Perfect Place’ – encourages us all to do what we can to support our tourism sector, to think about planning our holidays at home this year, when the time is right; to invite our friends and families to reconnect, to recharge and to rediscover what’s on our doorstep; to reinvigorate by trying new experiences and explore more; as well as to continue our lockdown passion for buying local food, drink and crafts.
“We are very lucky to have a large rural location with many off the beaten track areas which makes social distancing easier. We are the perfect place to recharge, reconnect, reflect and rediscover. And with less than half of the main season left, and with stringent safety measures in place, it is important now that we get behind our businesses, support local jobs, and back the industry that underpins many of our communities and ways of life too.”