Following government warnings that the growth of the so-called ‘sharing economy’ could compromise the safety of customers, Cumbria Tourism is highlighting its Quality Cumbria scheme as a flexible way for the county’s accommodation providers to reassure visitors that they comply with all the latest health and safety regulations.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tourism recently presented a report in Westminster focusing on online platforms like AirBnB, which allow people to rent out rooms to visitors in their homes. It warned that there needs to be clearer rules to ensure that premises comply with the same safety standards as conventional hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs. That includes basic measures such as smoke alarms, CO2 monitors and fire safety equipment.

As the county’s official Destination Management Organisation, Cumbria Tourism is promoting Quality Cumbria as a cost-effective way for tourism businesses to distinguish themselves from residential properties offering short term rentals – and to help visitors avoid confusion about basic safety standards.

Accredited and approved by VisitEngland, Quality Cumbria assessors can carry out independent inspections of any accommodation provider, to check safety and legal requirements, as well as grading on comfort and cleanliness.

Gaynor Anderson oversees Cumbria Tourism’s Quality Cumbria scheme. She says, “Tourism businesses have been expressing concerns about the shared economy and the potential inconsistencies in health and safety standards for some time. Increasingly, they are signing up to Quality Cumbria to demonstrate that they are fully accredited and can give their guests reassurance around health and safety issues.

She adds, “In an increasingly competitive tourism sector, it is vitally important that business can save their guests any unnecessary worry or confusion. Our assessors not only live and work in the county, but they are trained to national VisitEngland standards and can offer annual, independent inspections to provide the peace of mind that both businesses and visitors need.”

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