BUSINESSES from across Cumbria are set to discuss key topics at a tourism conference held at Workington later this month.

With a range of expert speakers on hand, the aim is for tourism and hospitality firms to gain a clearer understanding of how to make the most of the coming months and maximise opportunities.

It will address issues such as staffing shortages and how businesses can attract new recruits.

As I wrote about last week, the tourism sector is a vital part of the county's economy and this conference is likely to prove an important networking event where local operators can learn from each other's experiences.

One trend that is becoming more important for the tourism industry is the way exposure on television and in national surveys can help to boost business.

The owners of Kirkby Lonsdale Brewery have described an increase in business since the brewery was featured on The Hairy Bikers Go North show and say other firms in the town have also benefited.

Meanwhile Honister Slate Mine featured as part of NatWest and ITV's Backing Business advert, screened on ITV.

A new survey carried out by lettings company has revealed that the Lake District is the nation's favourite national park and the unvisited park people would most like to travel to.

The AA Restaurant Guide 2022 had just been released and given welcome publicity to a large number of local restaurants for the quality of the food they provide.

The calibre of the region's events and tourism offerings also cements the desire of tourists to keep on returning to the area. Coniston Power Boat Records Week was a successful event and attracted those who love to see high-performance boats achieving world records.

And tourism owners continue to invest and look to the future. The Swan Hotel and Spa at Newby Bridge, for example, is to open a luxurious new spa next year.

It all goes to show that we have a vibrant tourism sector, which is continually striving for excellence.