An in-depth survey into visitor trends across Cumbria – the first since the pandemic – has revealed latest travel habits and trends.
The Cumbria Visitor Survey has seen researchers carry out 2,000 face-to-face interviews at almost 60 locations throughout the county, along with hundreds of online questionnaires, to better understand visitors’ motivations and changes in the way they plan to holiday in future.
Among the key findings are:
- Significant changes in the age of visitors, with more younger adults. In total, 65% of visitors to Cumbria are between 25 and 59 years of age, up from 45% in 2018.
- 57% of visitors came from within the North West region, compared to 32% in 2018.
- 16% of visitor groups included someone in the party from an ethnic minority community, up from 2% in 2018.
- 14% of visitor groups included someone in the party with health issues or disability.
- 17% of all staying visitors were completely new to the area.
- Just 3% of visitors were from overseas, compared to 10% in 2018 – highlighting the continued impact of the pandemic on international travel.
- Twice as many visitors brought dogs with them compared to 2018 – 30% of all visitor groups brought their four-legged friends.
- 32% of people used recommendations from friends and family ahead of their visit (up from 17% in 2018).
- Meanwhile, 19% visited Cumbria Tourism’s own website visitlakedistrict.com (more than double the 8% that used the previous golakes.co.uk website in 2018) to help plan their visits.
- Most people chose to visit for the landscape (66%) or to be outdoors (65%), as well as the area’s peace / beauty / relaxation (60%, up from 36% in 2018). Half wanted to spend time with family and friends. 40% chose the area for its health and wellbeing benefits, or for walking, and because it is a familiar destination having visited before. 35% chose the destination for its remoteness and feeling of safety, and 29% wanted to go on the water.
- 86% believe the destination offers value for money, up from 76% in 2018.
- 96% of visitors describe their visit as either good or very good. Satisfaction levels are very high, with no negative ratings at all.
As the official Destination Management Organisation for the county, Cumbria Tourism has spearheaded the Cumbria Visitor Survey with support from the Lake District National Park and seven local authority partners; Allerdale Borough Council, Barrow Borough Council, Carlisle City Council, Copeland Borough Council, Eden District Council, South Lakeland District Council and Cumbria County Council.
Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “This is the first time this level of face-to-face, county-wide research has been done since 2018 and it offers a fascinating insight into the behaviour and expectations of visitors to the Lake District, Cumbria.
“Open spaces and general health and wellbeing continue to be major draws. It’s fantastic to see an increase in new audiences, especially younger, more diverse visitors, as well as those with a health or disability issue – all visiting and benefitting from our wonderful county. No surprise that we are increasingly popular as a dog friendly destination, perhaps making us the most dog friendly holiday spot in the country!
“We are already actively using the results to shape high-profile marketing activity for 2023 to resonate even more strongly with these groups. We will also be encouraging tourism operators to utilise this invaluable insight in their own business development and marketing plans.”
Gill continues, “The county’s value for money rating is up, and an overall 96% satisfaction rate is fantastic – this is a tribute to the hardworking tourism operators who continue to deliver high quality, memorable experiences for our visitors day in, day out. This research gives us even more ammunition to fight their corner at a national level and give our industry the very best opportunities to continue growing, evolving and innovating.”