The latest economic analysis of Cumbria’s tourism industry reveals the sector is now worth more than £2.9 billion to the local economy, with 47 million people visiting the county in 2017 and supporting almost 65,000 jobs. This marks the fourth year of significant growth.

The annual ‘STEAM’ (Scarborough Tourism Economic Activity Model) assessment has taken place since 1999 and is produced on behalf of a partnership led by Cumbria Tourism and supported by Cumbria’s District Councils, the Local Enterprise Project (LEP) and the Lake District National Park Authority.

The latest analysis concentrates on Cumbria’s overall tourism performance for 2017. Carlisle has seen the biggest increase in tourism revenue compared to the previous year (13.8%), but there has also been growth across all 6 local authority areas. This reflects our continuing ‘attract and disperse’ policy, utilising the strength of the Lake District brand to draw people into the Lake District National Park but encouraging them to discover and explore the exceptional offer of the wider county.

Overall Cumbria’s staying visitors increased by 6.2% in 2017 – equivalent to an extra 222,000 people – which is faster than the 5.0% growth in day visitors. Again, this reflects Cumbria Tourism’s strategy to encourage more high spending visitors to stay longer.

As well as highlighting strong spend on accommodation, the latest figures also reveal increased spend on ‘extras’ such as food and drink, leisure attractions and recreation, and shopping.

Our Managing Director, Gill Haigh, says, “This is the fourth year of growth for our tourism sector, which is easy to forget, but it is an amazing achievement. The results are positive for the entire county and are testament to the co-ordinated efforts of tourism businesses and partners working together on new products and developments, marketing and PR, and other highly impactful integrated campaigns such as Cumbria Tourism’s Winter Campaign which reached more than 32 million people.

“That said, it has been a challenging start to 2018, largely due to the weather, and businesses have reported a slower start than we’ve seen for a while. As an industry, this means we should all re-double our efforts to work together and ensure this world-class destination continues to sustain jobs in the county. As we approach the great unknown of Brexit, there has never been a more important time for co-ordinated support and partnership working.”

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