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Provisional figures from Cumbria Tourism’s research team show that camping and caravanning had a bumper start to 2017, with pitch occupancy up almost 20% between January and June compared to the same months last year.

Self-catering has also had a strong performance, with occupancy rates running 9% higher than the same period in 2016. The figures for April, May and June were particularly impressive with unit occupancy reaching 70% in June – a first for self-catering in the county.

The statistics collated by Cumbria Tourism also reveal that room occupancy for serviced accommodation is currently running 2% up on 2016. Last month’s occupancy rates reached 74% – matching last year, which were already the highest recorded in June for more than a decade.

The news comes hot on the heels of recent figures from the International Passenger Survey (IPS), carried out by the National Office of Statistics, which indicates a 26% increase in overseas trips to Cumbria in 2016. Although based on a small sample size, the trend bodes well for the county’s international appeal, with key markets including Australia, the USA, Germany and the Netherlands.

Research Manager at Cumbria Tourism, Helen Tate, says, “The data we have gathered from tourism businesses shows the underlying strength and resilience of our sector. Whilst the main growth has come from camping, caravanning, and self-catering, there have been increases across the board and these figures suggest there is a great deal to feel positive about.”

She adds, “At the same time, the International Passenger Survey indicates continuing growth in our international markets; a trend underlined by our most recent Cumbria Visitor Survey and evidence from individual tourism businesses. With two World Heritage sites, Cumbria now has an even more compelling message to help attract visitors from across the globe as we look forward to the next 12 months.”

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