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Visitor Economy

Building on excellence to “attract and disperse” and grow the whole of Cumbria’s tourism offer

Cumbria’s visitor economy is hugely important to our way of life: the county hosts around 47 million visitors annually which sustains approximately 26% of the county’s working population and over 20% of our economy. Tourism has seen steady annual growth in value in the last 5 years, but growth is slowing nationally and locally.

The English Lakes District, one of two World Heritage Sites in Cumbria, is the centrepiece of that success where the quality and range of offer excels. Our management of the land and rural environment alongside our large seasonal population is a large part of a Cumbrian way of life.

Opportunities do exist to achieve more and grow a wider offer; parts of Cumbria are not well serviced by our visitors and our offer is underdeveloped in places outside those areas with a tradition of tourism business. The strategy of “attract and disperse” will build on the huge value of the National Park and continuously improve the visitor business offer to find new opportunities, both within the established Lake District and also other parts of the county.

Our people are central to the success of tourism – their skills, qualities and customer focus; sustaining and developing our talent for the future is critical to success.


  • “Attract and disperse” through effective marketing and promotion of Cumbria-wide offer

  • Shaping and improving our Cumbria-wide offer by working with Sub-regional Tourism Partnerships

  • Developing a Cumbria Tourism Sector Career and Skills Academy to attract, retain and develop talent for the future

  • Developing sustainable low-carbon transport solutions to contribute to net zero carbon goals and support our tourism offer

  • Ensuring inclusivity and tourism for all in Cumbria

Developing relationships with our Sub-regional Tourism Partnerships and jointly focussing on new ideas and opportunities to capitalise on extending the seasonal offer, attracting more business related tourism and extending our whole offer through the “attract and disperse” approach will surface real ways of bringing innovation.

The way in which we deliver change is important; we need to be more sustainable and plan for improved transport infrastructure and focus on people to ensure inclusivity and the development of talent for the future.

Our plan also recognises the importance of continued investment in and promotion of existing attractions, accommodation and infrastructure, as well as maximising the potential of Cumbria’s two World Heritage Sites, the Lake District National Park and Hadrian’s Wall, and three Outstanding Areas of Natural Beauty, the Solway Coast, North Pennines and Arnside and Silverdale.

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