Cumbria Tourism has launched a Virtual Christmas Market to promote homegrown festive gifts and provide an alternative to impersonal global online retailers.
The county’s official Destination Management Organisation (DMO) originally ran the initiative in 2020 as part of a recovery marketing campaign to help support local businesses affected by the nationwide lockdowns that put a halt to high-street shopping.
It now returns for its third year to encourage shoppers who can’t get to Cumbria in the run-up to Christmas to continue shopping local and support authentic makers, producers and retailers. It also includes gift vouchers for overnight stays, attractions and experiences.
Running throughout October, November and December on visitlakedistrict.com, shoppers will find a wide range of independent retailers, hotels, restaurants, attractions, cultural venues, creative talents and artisans all selling unique gifts and experiences online.
Cumbria Tourism’s Marketing Manager, Sue Clarke, says, “It’s tough for everyone right now and Cumbrian businesses continue to need people’s support, so we urge shoppers to have a Cumbrian Christmas in any way that they can. If they can’t get to one of the county’s independent high-street retailers or great selection of Christmas Markets in person, this is a great online alternative for purchasing locally-made gifts.
“Buying local has so many benefits – not only are you helping to support livelihoods and local communities through these challenging times, but you often get more unique and personalised gifts.
“We have many talented makers and producers in our county and our virtual Christmas Market has such a wonderful array of creative gifts that reflect the very best of Cumbria. It’s an excellent way to cater for those who have an affinity with Cumbria but can’t get here in to do their Christmas shopping in person.”
Colin Sneath is the founder of A Day’s Walk, an online local produce home delivery company and retail outlet based at Hoker Hall in Cark-in-Cartmel and Ambleside.
He says, “The ethos of our business is all about working with local suppliers based here in Cumbria. This is the third year we’ve been involved with Cumbria Tourism’s Virtual Christmas Market and we’ve found it a real benefit to not only us as a company, but also all our suppliers who want to showcase their produce to a wide-ranging audience.
“It’s ideal for targeting people who we know love Cumbria but can’t make it here in person over the festive period and would like a slice of the county delivered direct to their doorsteps.”
It is free for Cumbria Tourism members to advertise online gifts on the county’s Virtual Christmas Market on visitlakedistrict.com. Non-member businesses can also register as sellers for £30.
All businesses need is the ability to transact online, plus an image and 20 words to describe each item they are selling (up to a maximum of two). To get involved, they can contact the Cumbria Tourism team on: firstname.lastname@example.org