The results of an important countywide survey to discover the most up-to-date habits of the visitors who drive Cumbria’s £2.9 billion tourism industry are out.

Conducted once every three years, the Cumbria Visitor Survey is a vital part of Cumbria Tourism’s research work and is the only in-depth source of county-wide information on our visitors – revealing where they come from, who they are with, why they come and what they do while they are here. Crucially, they also disclose valuable information about trends and changes in visitor behaviour.

Carried out in conjunction with the majority of Cumbria Tourism’s local authority partners, the Lake District National Park Authority and the Local Enterprise Partnership, the survey involved the completion of 1,400 in-depth, face-to-face questionnaires over a four month period. A wide variety of questions ranged from how much they spend to what influenced their choice of accommodation and how they preferred to book their trips to the county.

As part of Cumbria Tourism’s aim to spread tourism countywide, a new question was introduced to see if people were visiting new places. Three in ten (29%) said they had only visited new places during their visit and 47% were visiting a mixture of old and new places.

Other key findings from the latest research include:

  • 18% of visitors were in Cumbria for the first time.
  • A third (32%) travelled from within the North West region. More than half of all those visiting for the day (56%) were from the North West and almost a quarter (23%) of those staying overnight were North West -based.
  • Pleasingly, visits from the South East increased from 7% in 2015 to 11% in 2018. 17% of first time visitors were also from the South East, up from 8% in 2015.
  • More than 2 in 5 overseas visitors were either from the USA (24%) or Australia (19%)
  • Overseas visitors spent an average of £810.76 per party per trip, compared to UK visitors who spend £659.15 per party per trip
  • 10% of visitors used Cumbria Tourism’s GoLakes website to find out about visiting Cumbria
  • 15% of visitors had a dog or dogs with them
  • 94% of all visitors said they felt either very much or ‘quite a lot’ better mentally while visiting the Lake District, Cumbria
  • 96% of visitors rated their trip as good or very good.


Cumbria Tourism’s Managing Director, Gill Haigh, says, “Cumbria is an area where the visitor economy has particular significance to the local economy and communities. Now with two UNESCO World Heritage Sites we have a game changer for the county as a whole and our ambition is to sustainably grow the value of tourism with specific focus on converting day visitors to staying visitors and delivering the ‘attract and disperse principle’. We also want to grow the visitor economy outside of the summer months, and to increase international visitor stay and spend.”

“Our role as the Destination Management Organisation for the county means we are in a unique position of working across local authority boundaries with our partners, to ensure we get the fullest, most accurate picture of visitor behaviour.

The Cumbria Visitor Survey is a key piece of research to assess how the county is performing against these objectives, as well as to identify long-term trends and ensure we and our member businesses focus resources in the right place at the right time.

It’s vital that Cumbria Tourism’s marketing, strategy and lobbying work continue to be truly insight-led and visitor-focused. This research gives us current, reliable evidence direct from visitors and enables us to make informed decisions about a wide range of activities and themes.

For example, targeting the most relevant international markets and developing high-quality content around topical issues like health and wellbeing which genuinely resonates with the people we want to attract.”

Cumbria Tourism takes the lead on the Cumbria Visitor Survey with support from seven local authority partners. That includes Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, The Lake District National Park Authority, Allerdale Borough Council, Carlisle City Council, Copeland Borough Council, Eden District Council and South Lakeland District Council.

The full detailed report is available at a reduced price of £50 for Cumbria Tourism members HERE (or £150 for non-members).

For further information

Contact The PR Team on
01539 822222 or