The Managing Director of Cumbria’s most popular paid-for attraction has joined the UK Government’s Tourism Industry Council, which acts as a point of dialogue between Ministers and the entire tourism sector.

Nigel Wilkinson of Windermere Lake Cruises, a Strategic Partner of Cumbria Tourism, joined the group for the first time this week, alongside other employers, small businesses and representative organisations from across the UK-wide tourism industry.

Described by the government as “leading figureheads drawn from across the tourism industry”, the Tourism Council was set-up in 2014 and brings together more than 20 leading figures from attractions, hospitality, accommodation, aviation, transport and other businesses whose services are actively marketed to inbound, outbound and domestic travellers. While coming from specific areas of business, each member of the council works to represent the tourism industry as a whole to the highest levels of government.

Speaking after the meeting, Nigel Wilkinson, who is also a Board Member at Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Chairs the LEP’s Visitor Sector Panel says, “I’m delighted to have been invited to join the Tourism Industry Council by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport, Tourism and Heritage, Nigel Huddleston MP. While issues that affect the sector in the short, medium and longer term like Brexit and the reprioritisation of Tourism Sector Deal commitments are among the priorities, the most crucial issue we face currently is sustaining the sector through the forthcoming lockdown and the longer term recovery post Covid-19.

 “While speaking for the whole industry nationwide, I’m using my position to stress the critical importance of the visitor economy  to Cumbria, and raising awareness of the challenges we all face in doing whatever we can to make the industry sustainable as we move our recovery campaign forward over the coming weeks, months and years ahead.

 “The group aims to give the UK’s tourism and hospitality sector a louder voice and always aim to achieve increased collaboration with the government while making calls for more employment, better job security, and working to improve other issues like transport and deregulation. I’m very much looking forward to doing whatever I can to help not just Cumbria’s economy, but contribute to the development of the tourism sector across the country.”

Commenting, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism Gill Haigh, adds, “Nigel’s appointment to the Government’s Tourism Industry Council will come as welcome news to the sector in Cumbria, particularly at this incredibly challenging time. Nigel is a hugely respected figurehead within the county and nationally and I know it will be reassuring to businesses to know that we now have our own highly experienced voice and capable pair of hands representing us at the top table. Cumbria Tourism has given Nigel’s its commitment to provide any support and evidence he needs to assist all his endeavours on our behalf.”

 Lord Inglewood, the Chair of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership also welcomes the appointment, and says, “I am really pleased that Nigel has been appointed to the Tourism Industry Council. He is an excellent advocate and ambassador for the sector in Cumbria through his role as the Chair of CLEP’s Visitor Economy Sector Panel and his new role will give him the opportunity to do the same for all businesses in the sector, on a national platform.”

The Tourism Council meets regularly and is co-chaired by the Minister for Sports, Tourism and Heritage and Simon Vincent, President for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Hilton Worldwide.

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