Value of Cumbria’s tourism sector hits £3billion mark for first time

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Cumbria’s tourism sector generated £3 billion for the county’s economy last year and supported 65,000 jobs – 20 per cent of the county’s total employment, new figures reveal.

It is the first time the £3 billion mark has been reached.

The statistics come from the Scarborough Tourism Economic Activity Monitor.

The annual assessment has taken place for the past 20 years and is produced on behalf of a partnership led by Cumbria Tourism, supported by district councils, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership and the Lake District National Park Authority.

South Lakeland accounts for the greatest share of the revenue at 44 per cent, followed by Carlisle with 18 per cent and Allerdale with 16 per cent.

The biggest increases in value from last year were in Eden (plus 8.6 per cent), South Lakeland (plus 5.6 per cent), Barrow (plus 4.2 per cent) and Copeland (plus 4.1 per cent). Gill Haigh, managing director of Cumbria Tourism, said: “The visitor economy brings a range of benefits and helps make the county not only a great place to visit, but also a great place to live and work. 

“We believe by working together there are opportunities to further grow the value of tourism. “That said, we are conscious that these are testing times for Cumbria’s tourism sector. “Our recent business performance survey highlights continued rising costs for tourism businesses, uncertainties around Brexit and reduced consumer spending.

“As an industry, joined-up investment, co-ordination and partnership working is vital to ensure our world-class destination continues to sustain jobs and bring all year round benefits in the county as a whole.”

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Nigel Wilkinson,  Cumbria LEP board member and chair of the visitor economy sector panel, said: “The latest data confirms the strength of Cumbria’s tourism offer. “It is really encouraging to see the growth in overnight stays and the results now being delivered by the attract and disperse policy. “This strong performance clearly demonstrates Cumbria’s important contribution to the emerging Tourism Sector Deal and puts down a clear marker of our potential to become a national Tourism Action Zone. Cumbria LEP will be working closely with Cumbria Tourism and our visitor economy partners to make Cumbria’s case.”