National tourism leaders and Olympic hero to headline March business summit

by | Mar 13, 2023 | News

Chief Executive of VisitEngland Patricia Yates and former Olympian Steve Cram will be among the headline speakers at an upcoming tourism summit being hosted by Cumbria Tourism next week.

They will join the Executive Director of the Tourism Alliance Richard Toomer and Cumbria Tourism’s Managing Director Gill Haigh for the gathering of more than 100 tourism businesses from across Cumbria at The Netherwood Hotel in Grange-over-Sands on Thursday 16 March.

Amid rising costs, recruitment challenges and political uncertainty, Cumbria’s official Destination Management Organisation (DMO) has arranged its Spring Members’ Event to debate some of the key issues – and opportunities – for the county’s £2.6billion visitor economy.

It’s all timed to coincide with the beginning of English Tourism Week (17-26 March), which celebrates the importance, value and contribution of the tourism sector to the UK economy.

Top of the agenda will be ‘Tourism Industry Priorities & the National Political Picture’ with Richard Toomer, while Patricia Yates will talk about ‘Rebuilding Visitor Spend and Supporting the Industry’.

Businesses will then hear from Steve Cram CBE. The former world record holder and 1500 metre world champion turned commentator will be outlining his plans for the Wild GOAT Festival, a new outdoor event coming to Holker Hall and Gardens this August.

The Spring Members’ Event will also feature updates from the Cumbria Tourism team, along with a ‘Question and Answer’ session with the expert speaker panel and face-to-face networking time for tourism businesses.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “Just ahead of English Tourism Week, we’re excited to welcome a fantastic line up of speakers to the county. Not only will they be talking about some of the key issues affecting our industry right know, but I know they will offer really valuable insights and inspiration about the opportunities to grow our visitor economy for future success.”

Steve Cram adds, “I’m looking forward to sharing details of the new Wild Goat Festival with tourism businesses from around Cumbria. Getting active is hugely important for good physical and mental health, and doing that outdoors adds a great dimension – these days, it’s even being prescribed by medical professionals. With this event, we’ll provide an affordable opportunity for families to run, cycle, walk and enjoy other outdoor activities together, and all in a beautiful location.”

Any of Cumbria Tourism’s 2,500 member businesses can pre-book their free places for the event on Thursday 16 March (9am to 2pm) at:

Tourism-related businesses who are interested in becoming a member of Cumbria’s official Destination Management Organisation can contact the team and speak to Ben Melling to find out more about the benefits on: 01539 822222 /