MBE award for stalwart in Cumbria’s tourism industry

by | Jun 17, 2024 | News

One of the best-known figures in Cumbria’s tourism industry, Jim Walker, has been recognised with an MBE in the King’s Birthday Honours List 2024.

The Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) is being awarded to Jim for services to tourism.

President of Cumbria Tourism, Jim Walker has built his reputation in travel and tourism over more than 40 years, with a series of wide-ranging Chief Executive, Managing Director and Chief Officer roles in both the public and private sector.

Part of Cumbria Tourism’s Board for 12 years – including a stint as interim Managing Director and later Chairman – it’s particularly fitting that Jim receives this award in Cumbria Tourism’s 50th Anniversary year.

Jim has been a leading light in bringing significant overseas tourism to Cumbria – spearheading early missions to Japan alongside public and trade exhibition presences in the UK and beyond. He is also widely acknowledged for championing major developments to the county’s infrastructure and product, and helping local authorities to work more closely with the county’s tourism operators.

He is the Founder Chair of the Eden Tourism Network and a previous recipient of both ‘Tourism Personality of the Year’ at the 2022 Cumbria Tourism Awards and the ‘Lifetime Contribution to Cumbria’ award at the in-Cumbria Business Awards. For the last 22 years Jim has been employed by the Lake District Estates Group based in Kendal.

Reacting to the MBE announcement, Jim Walker says: “Receiving this award is a huge and unexpected honour for me personally, but also very importantly, recognition of our brilliant tourism industry, it’s value to Cumbria’s economy and how, with Cumbria Tourism’s help, together we have navigated through some very big challenges recently, the pandemic being just one example.

“The challenges continue but Cumbria’s tourism industry, through partnership working together, continues to set an example to the rest of the UK.”

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, comments: This is absolutely wonderful news and we are over the moon that Jim has been honoured in this way in what is Cumbria Tourism’s 50th anniversary year. In a county where tourism is so crucial for supporting jobs and communities, Jim is easily one of the most familiar and respected figureheads and everyone you speak to has only praise and admiration for his experience, skills, wisdom and dedication.

“He passionately believes in the role of Destination Management Organisations, representing the views/needs of businesses with one voice. Following 12 years of service to Cumbria Tourism’s Board, latterly as chairman, he has used his influence to help raise the organisation’s profile, regularly meeting businesses/politicians and representing the sector in the national media.

“He went on to lead the Board and support staff through the pandemic. At every hurdle Jim stepped up and willingly gave his time, influence and expertise. He has always been happy to help – no matter what the time of day! No business too small, no task too great.

As President he continues to serve Cumbria Tourism members and champion the industry with all the passion and enthusiasm he has shown over the past four decades. We are thrilled he has been recognised with an MBE and offer our warmest congratulations.”