The newly launched English Lake District India Forum has been welcoming the bosses of some of India’s top travel agencies to Cumbria.

It has been set up by Cumbria Tourism to bring together businesses targeting international visitors from the fast-growing Indian market.

The visit, which took place on Tuesday and Wednesday, coincides with the ICC Cricket World Cup in England and Wales, which is a massive draw for Indian sports fans.

Visitors include chief executives and managing directors from leading travel agencies like Cox & Kings India and KFT Holidays, as well as trade media, airline partner Oman Air and representatives from VisitBritain.

Cumbria Tourism’s renewed India-focus is part of a long-term partnership with Marketing Manchester, who hosted the group for the India v Pakistan match at Old Trafford on Sunday, before they headed to Cumbria.

The delegates travelled through the south and central Lakes to the Eden Valley visiting businesses including Gilpin Spice, Windermere Jetty, Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories, Windermere Lake Cruises, Lake District Country Hotels, Mountain Goat, Grasmere Gingerbread and Lowther Castle.

A cricket-themed drinks reception at Storrs Hall also celebrated the Cricket World Cup, including a helping hand from Millom Cricket Club and their Sri Lankan professional, Sameera Sadamal.

A second Indian delegation will travel to Cumbria on Monday just ahead of the India v West Indies cricket match in Manchester.

Cumbria Tourism managing director Gill Haigh said: “Cumbria has a compelling message for Indian visitors, who are renowned for their love of culture, heritage and the natural landscape.

"Businesses joining the India Forum will help forge even stronger links with overseas trade contacts and take an active role in encouraging more leisure visitors from the world’s fastest growing economy.

“Working with Marketing Manchester is also essential, as we join together to unlock new opportunities and promote the wider North West to potential visitors from the Indian sub-continent.”

Sheona Southern, managing director of Marketing Manchester, said: “India is an incredibly important market in Greater Manchester’s international growth ambitions.

"The subcontinent is a significant region of growth, responsible for nearly 17m outbound visits a year, with Indian visitors to the UK spending more than £400m in the UK annually.

“As such, it is vital that we work with our partners in the north to make the most of the opportunity that the Indian market presents, and we look forward to further collaboration with Cumbria Tourism’s new India Forum over the coming months and years to do exactly that.”