You may have read recently about the Borderlands Deal, a cross border initiative led by the five local authority partners; Carlisle City Council, Cumbria County Council, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Northumberland County Council and Scottish Borders Council. The authorities’ shared ambition is for the ‘area’ to play a full part in the regional and wider UK economy and unlock the potential of the south of Scotland and north of England.
In the November 2017 budget round the Chancellor supported the opening of Borderlands Deal discussions and the initiative is now gaining momentum.
One of the themes being developed is ‘Destination Borderlands’ which aims to maximise the opportunities for growth in the tourism sector. Like Cumbria as a whole, the future growth and sustainability for many businesses north and east of the Cumbrian border is also heavily dependent upon a thriving tourism sector and Borderlands will be one of the topics of discussion at CT’s AGM next month.
Many of the opportunities and challenges are replicated across and along the borders. The investment at Carlisle Airport and commencement of passenger flights in June 2018 is seen as a potential game-changer for the visitor economy.
Carlisle City Council and Cumbria County Council are at the early stages of developing proposals for a ‘Destination Borderlands’ programme that will maximise the opportunities for growth in the tourism sector, in particular exploring how the collective offer can be strengthened, particularly for overseas visitors.
Cumbria Tourism is representing its members, contributing to a steering group that is developing the Business Case due for submission to Government in the summer and which will align with Cumbria Tourism’s own ambitions to work in partnership to grow the value of tourism, to strengthen Cumbria’s reputation as an all year-round world class visitor destination of national and international appeal.
It tallies with our focus on:
- Growing the number of staying visitors and increase the length of stays (international and domestic)
- Growing the spend per visitor
- Growing the number of visitors to less well-known areas of the county – ‘attract and disperse’
- Growing the reputation of and economic value to Cumbria as an all year-round destination