A TOURISM expert from Appleby has been chosen to be the chairman of a county organisation which represents the front line of the tourist industry.

Ron Smith replaces Alan Heppenstall as the chairman of the Cumbria Tourist Guides association which has 50 members taking visitors out on professional tours of the county every year. 

Mr Smith said: “I am extremely pleased to have been chosen as the Chairman of Cumbria Tourist Guides and I want to place on record our appreciation of my predecessor, Alan Heppenstall’s hard work over the past four years. I look forward to working with colleagues and partners throughout the county."

The Cumbria Tourist Guides association recently held its annual meeting at the Jerwood Centre, Dove Cottage. 

Special guest was Isabel Moore, President of the Institute of Tourist Guiding, the national standard setting body for the tourist guiding sector and awarding body of the coveted Blue Badge, an internationally recognised hallmark of excellence.

During the tenure of outgoing chair Mr Heppenstall, membership of the Cumbria Tourist Guides has grown to 50.

They are qualified to guide all over Cumbria and the Lake District, from Hadrian’s Wall to Sedbergh or the Cartmel Peninsula and the Eden Valley to Barrow or St Bees and everywhere in between.

The guides lead tours by coach or private vehicle and walking tours, and this year several members have branched out into delivering tours around some of Cumbria’s lesser known areas by electric bicycle. 

Besides leading general tours, members of the group have various specialisms and speak foreign languages including Japanese, German, Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

Mr Smith said added: "Our members possess the highest national qualification; they are predominantly local and are all committed to providing a quality service for both visitors and partners alike. They are an asset to the county and can complement the business interests of our partners."

Cumbria’s Association of Blue Badge Guides www.cumbriatouristguides.org