Annual Figures Confirm Growing Tourism Industry

The strength and resilience of the regional tourism industry will take centre-stage at Cumbria Tourism’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) next month, following the release of figures which reveal that just over 45 million people visited the county in 2016. This is up 2 million on the previous year.

Despite the major challenges of 2016, latest figures from the Scarborough Tourism Economic Activity Monitor – commonly known as STEAM – reveal that Cumbria received 38.8 million day trippers and 6.3 million overnight visitors last year. This brought in £2.72 billion to the county’s economy and provided employment for 36,240 full time equivalent (FTE) posts.

Between 2015 and 2016, there was an overall 5.2% increase in tourist numbers and 4.1% in tourism revenue. This is mainly due to increasing numbers of day trippers over the last 12 months, which were up 6% on 2015. It also reflects the 2016 Visitor Attractions Performance Survey carried out by Cumbria Tourism’s research team, which showed an average 7.2% rise in people visiting tourist attractions across the county.

There is also a longer-term upward trend in overnight stays, which have grown by 1.2 million visits (or 22.3%) since 2013.

The latest tourism stats will be one of the key themes to be discussed at Cumbria Tourism’s upcoming AGM, which takes place on Thursday 15 June 2017 at the Rheged Centre in Penrith.

All of Cumbria Tourism’s 2,400 member businesses are invited to the event, which will also see the unveiling of the seven new private sector Non-Executive Directors to help drive forward the organisation’s commercial aims and ambitions throughout 2017 and beyond.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Ian Stephens, says, “The latest tourism figures are sure to be a key talking point at next month’s AGM. Times are tough, but the evidence suggests that we have a strong and resilient industry, which is continuing to grow year on year.

“The day visitor market is looking particularly positive, but of course, it’s not just about the volume of people. What we want to do is attract more high spending, staying visitors, particularly from expanding overseas markets, and encourage them to explore all corners of our diverse and inspirational county. In this way, we can continue to help drive the local economy through retail, leisure, accommodation, and food and drink.

Other guest speakers at Cumbria Tourism’s AGM will include Adrian Lochhead, Director of Eden Arts, who will be talking about the new ‘Route 66’ project. Businesses will also hear from Graham Haywood, Managing Director of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). He will be focusing on the county’s Growth Plan and the potential benefits of the Lake District hopefully being designated as a World Heritage Site this sum