Cumbria Tourism organised a major Summit Meeting at Rheged at the end of June bringing together leading figures from the industry and public sector organisations to discuss the importance of tourism to the county's economy and the best way of managing and representing the sector in the future. Over 100 delegates at the Summit heard from a range of speakers including James Beresford, Visit England's Chief Executive, Andrew Tong from Deloitte's the Economic Consultants, David Thornton from Visit Peak District, Stephen Broughton the tourism sector representative on the Cumbria Local Economic Partnership and Nigel Wilkinson MD of Windermere Lake Cruises. The key messages coming out of the Summit were the following:-
- The importance of collectively leading with the Lake District brand rather than promoting individual parts of the county.
- Working together across the public and private sector and investing in joint campaigns to grow the Cumbria market rather than competing internally within the county.
- The public sector has a key role in maintaining and supporting Destination Management in the county, as well as ensuring that it presents a better welcome for visitors.
- The Government needs to recognise the growth potential of the industry and reduce the VAT burden for hospitality businesses.
- In the face of public sector funding cuts we may need to explore new ways of raising funds for public realm and marketing in the future.