With large parts of the tourism sector beginning to re-open over the weekend, Cumbria Tourism joined several of the county’s MPs on a tour of local businesses to witness first-hand, the steps which have been taken to keep the health and wellbeing of visitors at the top of the agenda.
Also joined by members of the organisation’s Board of Directors, more than 20 businesses across the county were paid a visit to help raise awareness of their official “We’re Good To Go” seal of approval from VisitEngland; A stamp of assurance which is being used to spread the message among potential visitors that the county is ready to welcome them back over the rest of the summer, autumn and winter months.
Taking-in businesses from serviced and non-serviced accommodation, camping and caravanning, food and drink, indoor and outdoor attractions, as well as culture and heritage, the tour was used to restore confidence and highlight Cumbria as the perfect place to visit after a difficult first half of 2020.
Cumbria Tourism Chair Jim Walker says, “We wanted to join our MPs on this tour to mark the beginning of what is a critical phase for our industry and to show potential visitors how seriously our businesses take their wellbeing. The tours, co-ordinated by Cumbria Tourism, also provided a great opportunity for our local MPs to hear from operators throughout the county about the huge challenges the industry is currently facing and the work that is going on to start to open again.
“Our MPs were really interested in every effort that’s being made at more than twenty businesses which were visited. We hope the tour also provided a real insight into the losses suffered by businesses so far, and the help they need from the government to prevent further hardship. This tour also followed a recent petition which Cumbria Tourism jointly launched with Tim Farron MP, calling for a new package of financial aid. The businesses which took part in the weekend’s tour are fully behind those calls and it was absolutely essential for our MPs hear the concerns from those businesses first-hand so they can ensure the issues are heard at the highest level.”
MPs on the tour included Simon Fell, Neil Hudson, Mark Jenkinson, John Stephenson and Tim Farron – the latter of whom visited Grasmere Gingerbread, Castle Green Hotel, Dome House B&B, Tree Top Trek, Skelwith Fold Caravan Park and The Coppermines and Lakes Cottages.
Meanwhile, Mark Jenkinson, MP for Workington and the surrounding area got off to a head start on his tour early with a visit to the Lake District Calvert Trust on Friday morning where he was met by Justin Farnan, a director of Cumbria Tourism and a manager at the charity, along with trustee Stuart Lothian.
Cumbria Tourism Chair Jim Walker joined Neil Hudson MP and John Stevenson MP in North Cumbria, during which they visited English Heritage staff at Carlisle Castle and The Halston Aparthotel where Mr Stevenson heard about the accommodation’s vital work in hosting key workers to date, along with the dynamic and innovative way in which the Directors are responding to the impact of the crisis. The Tranquil Otter luxury lodges, Askham Hall, Tullie House, Lanercost, Artlegarth Lodges and Ullswater Steamers were also included in their tours.
Cumbria Tourism Director Carl Bevan joined Simon Fell MP on a tour of the Ulverston, Barrow and Walney area, which included West Point House, Holiday Inn Express, the Sandscale Haws National Trust nature reserve, the Laurel & Hardy museum and Shed 1 Distillery.
All businesses were invited to join the celebrations by posting photographs on social media using the hashtags #theperfectplacetobe and #weregoodtogo. The tour was also covered on Cumbria Tourism’s own social media channels throughout the day. You can see photographs of the tour and participating businesses on Cumbria Tourism’s social media channels by searching for the hashtag #protecttourismjobs.
The tour ended with the firing of a cannon at Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa: A symbolic event to signify the end of more than three months of lockdown, marking the rebirth of The Lake District, Cumbria, as the perfect place to visit this summer – and all year-round.
Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says; “It was fantastic to be able to join our MPs on this tour of Cumbria, during a crucial re-opening weekend of activity. It gave the MPs the chance to see each business in action, as well as giving them the opportunity to see how their hard work in recent months is now being put to good use, to enable visitors to be welcomed back. It also gave them a first-hand insight into the work that still needs to be done, but also reassurance that the determination to succeed here in Cumbria is stronger now than it ever has been. The Board of Directors and myself would like to say a huge thank you to our MPs and all participating businesses for their involvement in this tour as we move into the next chapter for the tourism sector right across the county.”