Lake District 'will lose tourists to other destinations'

The Westmorland Gazette: LETTER: Ian Stephens LETTER: Ian Stephens

A TOURISM boss has challenged the Prime Minister over a decision to axe Cumbria’s £1.3m budget for promoting the county.

Ian Stephens, chief executive of Cumbria Tourism, accused David Cameron of a ‘blatant contradiction’ in his attitude to the industry amid fears Cumbria will lose thousands of visitors to Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

In a speech to tourist industry representatives in Kendal today, he said the cut in his organisation’s grant would mean it will not be able to compete with rival destinations over marketing and promotion.

Mr Stephens said he was ‘duty bound’ to highlight a ‘grossly unfair disparity’ which could have consequences on jobs.

The tourism budget is being reduced from April, coinciding with the start of the new tourism season. Half of Cumbria Tourism's 40 full and part-time staff will be axed.

Rival destinations like Scotland, Ireland and Wales will continue to spend millions of pounds on marketing because they receive direct funding from their respective governments.

Prime Minister David Cameron recently said he recognised the ‘importance of tourism in the UK’s economic recovery’, prompting Mr Stephens to describe Cumbria’s cut as ‘a blatant contradiction’.

Mr Stephens said he had written to Mr Cameron asking for clarification on how tourism in England is to be developed under his leadership.

Mr Stephens warned that a ‘patchwork quilt approach to marketing the area’ could put the Lake District’s image back nearly a decade.

“Some people say we should not be chasing public money,” he said.

“I disagree entirely because our rural economy needs it and our rivals rely on it to attract visitors. Scotland has £34m to promote itself. Ireland has £11m.

“Make no mistake these areas are gearing up to make massive inroads into Cumbria’s market share.

"They want our advertising space on London Underground stations, our coverage in the newspapers, and your customers through their doors.”

Comments (7)

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2:07pm Tue 7 Sep 10

Steve Bott says...

Not a bad thing entirely. Most of the people who visit the Lakes have been doing so for years and will continue to do so. Advertising may attract more but there are plenty who will also say they don't want anymore. People will discover and come to the Lakes with or without advertising and promotion.
Not a bad thing entirely. Most of the people who visit the Lakes have been doing so for years and will continue to do so. Advertising may attract more but there are plenty who will also say they don't want anymore. People will discover and come to the Lakes with or without advertising and promotion. Steve Bott

3:12pm Tue 7 Sep 10

Ambience says...

Cumbria Tourism is not as important as it's overpaid executives think it is. People will always come to The Lakes, and the ITV programme on the Lakes has done more to promote it than Cumbria Tourism has. And I believe there is a new Lakes series being filmed.
Cumbria Tourism is not as important as it's overpaid executives think it is. People will always come to The Lakes, and the ITV programme on the Lakes has done more to promote it than Cumbria Tourism has. And I believe there is a new Lakes series being filmed. Ambience

9:31pm Tue 7 Sep 10

wascal says...

It is probably true to say that some of the Cumbria Tourism executives are not entirely 'essential' but do not make the mistake of thinking tourists will always come. Look at the example of Morecambe, not all that many years ago it was one of the most popular tourism resorts in the North of England. Nothing physical has changed there, but what has changed is how the resort is managed. As you say Ambience, the Lakes tv show promotes the area but it has taken many people, organisations and a lot of money to produce, it hasn't just happened on its own!
It is probably true to say that some of the Cumbria Tourism executives are not entirely 'essential' but do not make the mistake of thinking tourists will always come. Look at the example of Morecambe, not all that many years ago it was one of the most popular tourism resorts in the North of England. Nothing physical has changed there, but what has changed is how the resort is managed. As you say Ambience, the Lakes tv show promotes the area but it has taken many people, organisations and a lot of money to produce, it hasn't just happened on its own! wascal

10:54am Wed 8 Sep 10

Steve Bott says...

Those type of programmes always put the places they cover in a good light generally so it can't fail to boost tourism to an already heavily visited area. People will always come to the Lakes and surrounding areas come what may. I just wish I could go back and live there permanently instead of just visiting now and again.
Those type of programmes always put the places they cover in a good light generally so it can't fail to boost tourism to an already heavily visited area. People will always come to the Lakes and surrounding areas come what may. I just wish I could go back and live there permanently instead of just visiting now and again. Steve Bott

2:54pm Wed 8 Sep 10

wascal says...

You are naive to think that and do a disservice to those who work hard to keep the area as one of the top tourism spots in the country. There are many business and locals fighting tooth and nail to maintain a steady income here, we cannot afford to sit back and hope people will come!
You are naive to think that and do a disservice to those who work hard to keep the area as one of the top tourism spots in the country. There are many business and locals fighting tooth and nail to maintain a steady income here, we cannot afford to sit back and hope people will come! wascal

9:58am Sat 11 Sep 10

LisaK123 says...

We don't need more volume of tourists, just need those that do come here to spend more money maybe?
We don't need more volume of tourists, just need those that do come here to spend more money maybe? LisaK123

1:34pm Sat 11 Sep 10

wascal says...

And how do we do that? Close TICS, close down CT, produce trashy articles about monter hunters?
And how do we do that? Close TICS, close down CT, produce trashy articles about monter hunters? wascal

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