Memorandum submitted by Cumbria Tourist
Research has shown that "The Lake District"
is the most recognised tourism brand outside London. In 1999,
The National Geographic Magazine identified the Lake District
as one of the World's top 50 "must see" destinations.
Cumbria has also developed the following successful sub brands;
Historic Carlisle and Hadrian's Wall
Eden Valley and the North Pennines
Western Lakes and Coast
Lake District Peninsulas
Cumbria enjoys an extensive range of high quality
accommodation establishments and a variety of attractions. Key
attractions are based on the area's unique landscape and cultural
and historic inheritance eg fell walking, Wordsworth, Beatrix
Potter, lake cruises, Roman, Celtic and religious heritage.
2.1 Evidence will be given by Chris Collier,
Chief Executive, Cumbria Tourist Board (CTB). As Chief Executive
of Cumbria Tourist Board, Chris Collier has overall responsibility
for the management and implementation of CTB's annual business
plan and the Regional Tourism Strategy for Cumbria.
2.2 Chris Collier represents the tourism
industry on the Cumbria FMD Task Force and Steering Group. Cumbria
Tourist Board is also represented on the Task Force Sub-Groups
dealing with Market Intelligence, Regeneration, Restrictions Review
and the Lake District Action Plan.
2.3 Cumbria Tourist Board is one of the
ten English Regional Tourist Boards. The English Tourism Council
devolves many of its functions to the Regional Tourist Boards,
including a wide range of strategic policy, planning, development
and marketing responsibilities. Cumbria Tourist Board is a partnership
of the English Tourism Council, the local authorities and the
private sector. Cumbria Tourist Board has a database of over 4,000
tourism businesses that it seeks to assist, 2,000 of whom are
members for marketing purposes.
2.4 Cumbria Tourist Board's role is summarised
Marketing and promotion;
Sustainable tourism development;
Evaluation and research;
Improving quality and value;
Representation of the Industry.
2.5 Cumbria Tourist Board prepares the Regional
Tourism Strategy for Cumbria, in consultation with its partners
and other interested parties. The Strategy contains key factual
information about tourism in Cumbria, future trends and priorities
for action. It also deals with policy concerning marketing, publicity
and the provision of information for visitors. The current Regional
Tourism Strategy for Cumbria was published in 1998. It aims to
guide the development of the tourism industry to bring economic,
social and environmental benefit to the region.
2.6 Tourism in Cumbria is a vital industry
with expenditure by visitors supporting over 47,000 jobs (25 per
cent of total jobs). In 1999, the STEAM economic impact model
provided statistics for the Local Authority and National Park
areas of Cumbria. It estimates that visitor spending in Cumbria
amounted to £964 million in 1999 (18 per cent of total GDP).
2.7 The STEAM model provides estimates of
the total numbers of visitors who stay overnight or take a day
trip to, and within Cumbria. The table below indicates that 25.2
million visitors made such visits to Cumbria in 1999.
Tourist Numbers by Category of Visit
Tourist Numbers by Category of Visit (Millions)
|Staying with Friends and Relatives||0.1
|Intra-District Day Visitor||0.5
|Leisure Day Visitors||1.3
|Total Day Visitor Numbers||3.3
|Total Tourist Numbers||4.3
|Percentage of County Total||17%
Source: STEAM 1999, CTB.
3. INFORMATION TO
3.1 CTB's marketing role focuses on attracting both domestic
and overseas visitors. Information on accommodation, attractions,
travel arrangements etc is collated annually into a highly successful
Visitor Guide and Web Site. These day activities are prepared
in partnership with the private sector, local authorities and
In addition, CTB contributes to the Englands' North Country
marketing consortium, a partnership whose sole responsibility
is to concentrate on bringing overseas visitors to the North of
England. For the last four years, CTB has also co-ordinated marketing
activities for the Northern Uplands Farm Tourism Initiative. This
initiative has provided successful marketing support for over
400 farm tourism providers in the North of England, increasing
their income from tourism by 35 per cent since 1998.
3.2 Overseas visits to Cumbria represent less than 10
per cent of all visits. The proportion of domestic and overseas
visits has remained fairly consistent over the past 20 years.
Cumbria enjoys almost year-round tourism, which suggests success
with seasonal marketing campaigns and with visitor management
policy to "spread the load" more evenly across the year.
This strategy has provided stability in the economy and enabled
the development of good quality, full time employment opportunities.
3.3 On behalf of the English Tourism, Council Cumbria
Tourist Board provides a co-ordinating role for the Tourist Information
Centre network. There are 37 Tourist Information Centres in Cumbria.
These centres are owned and operated by the Local Authorities
and the National Park Authority. Cumbria Tourist Board operates
the Lancaster Services Tourist Information Centre on the M6 Motorway.
3.4 Information and Communications Technology plays an
increasingly important role in tourism management and marketing.
In Cumbria, less than 40 per cent of tourism businesses have access
to the Internet and email facilities. Tourist Information Centres
in Cumbria do not share common protocols and ICT standards. Such
shortcomings are causing major difficulties in information provision
4. CUMBRIA TOURIST
4.1 So far over 500 businesses have reported losses to
the CTB. The sample survey indicates 432 jobs have been lost from
these businesses alone. Businesses have no alternative but to
lay-off employees or not to take staff on for the season. For
example 17 out of the 24 Youth Hostels in the affected area have
shut down and staff have been laid off.
4.2 The multiplier effect on supplier businesses is already
having a marked effect on the viability of the companies. Businesses
from plumbers to laundries and food and drink suppliers are already
seeing a fall in orders and the cancellation of advance work.
4.3 CTB estimates over 1,000 job losses from tourism
or tourism related business to date. This, however, does not include
the large number of temporary and part time jobs that normally
would have been created for the busier summer months.
4.4 Tourist Information Centres in Cumbria showed that
total bookings were down by 58 per cent in March 2001 compared
to March 2000. The worst affected areas are in the Lake District,
down by an average of 75 per cent. This trend is continuing throughout
4.5 Easter showed an improvement in towns and larger
villages, with most accommodation establishments reporting good
occupancy levels and attractions sustaining good visitor levels.
Heavily infected areas, valleys, remote rural areas and towns
heavily dependent on walkers did not have a good Easter. Looking
forward, cancellations continue to increase. Enquiries and advance
bookings, almost non-existent since the start of the crisis, continue
to show little sign of recovery despite considerable marketing
4.6 Although most tourism businesses in Cumbria have
been damaged by FMD, CTB's assessment of those companies hardest
hit are listed as follows:
Almost all tourism operators in the most heavily
Farm accommodation and attractions
Outdoor clothing and equipment retailers
Hostels and outdoor activity centres/providers
Accommodation, retail and all commercial activities
in those areas heavily dependent on "serious walkers"
eg Eskdale, Ennerdale, Buttermere, Borrowdale, Keswick, Coniston,
Hawkhead, Ambleside and Ullswater.
5. WHAT CUMBRIA
5.1 With the support of private and public bodies, Cumbria
Tourist Board established a "Fighting Fund" to address
short-term marketing efforts. The fund enabled the commissioning
of Burson Marsteller crisis management public relation consultants.
Burson Marsteller have been charged with countering erroneous
and negative information portrayed by the media and other bodies;
and also to ensure that the tourism industry position is clearly
communicated and understood by Government.
5.2 Established a Visitor Information Hotline, regularly
briefing staff on dealing with concerned visitors and tourism
businesses, FMD matters taking priority over other work commitments.
Staff at CTB took over 5,000 calls in the first five weeks of
5.3 In the first three weeks of the FMD outbreak and
with the assistance of Lamont Pridmore, CTB produced and distributed
a Business Survival Toolkit to over 4,000 tourism and tourism
dependent businesses in Cumbria.
5.4 Provided up-to-date information on the Cumbria Tourist
Board website, www.gocumbria.co.uk featuring things to do for
visitors, such as events, activities and opening times of visitor
attractions unaffected by the FMD outbreak.
5.5 Provided daily briefings (including weekends) with
local, regional and national media, clarifying Cumbria Tourist
Board's position on policy and the other rapid changes in circumstances,
with the support of Burson Marsteller.
5.6 Participated in the Cumbria Taskforce and emergency
working groups each week. CTB is represented on the Steering Committee,
Restrictions and Access Working Groups, Regeneration/Market Intelligence
Working Group and LDNP Action Planning Group.
5.7 Attended meetings with government/shadow government
ministers and officials, including the Prime Minister, to ensure
that the tourism perspective is fully appreciated.
5.8 Prepared an "emergency" Marketing and Recovery
Plan to support Cumbria's tourism industry and the Government's
"Countryside open for Business" campaign.
5.9 Prepared and distributed three FMD business information
bulletins to over 4,000 business in Cumbria. The bulletins contain
the Business Survival Toolkit, general advice, information on
marketing activities and plans, lobbying issues, contact addresses
and forthcoming meetings.
5.10 Undertook pre Easter multi-media activities including
press advertising, public relations work, postcard lead generation
campaign and website activities.
5.11 Attended numerous crisis briefing meetings organised
at national, regional and local level, including meetings of Tourism
Forum, the Tourism Summit, North West Development Agency Task
Force, Tourism Associations, Partnerships, Chamber of Commerce,
Emergency Working Groups and other concerned community groups.
5.12 Ensured that local tourism officers and Tourist
Information Centres are fully briefed and informed.
6. WHAT CUMBRIA
6.1 Continue to integrate our Recovery Plan with those
being prepared by the Cumbria Taskforce, the North West Development
Agency and English Tourism Council. The plan encompasses short,
medium and long-term priorities, including a request for funding
support for 2001 and 2002 marketing and development activities.
6.2 Develop the case for compensation for tourism businesses
in Cumbria (see Appendix One attached), highlighting the scale
and extent of FMD's disastrous impact on visitor expenditure,
local economies and the special circumstances pertaining to Cumbria.
6.3 Implement the 2001 Marketing Campaign, rescheduling
original plans to take account of the FMD crisis.
6.4 Prepare the case for, and ensure that preparations
for 2002 marketing activities are undertaken, taking into account
relaunch and enhanced promotional activities to entice customers
back to Cumbria.
6.5 Co-ordinate and disseminate up-to-date information
via the website and Tourist Information Centre network focusing
on what visitors can do and see in Cumbria. Provide reassurance
to visitors and correct misconceptions that exist about FMD.
6.6 Work with Small Business Service and others to provide
support services to tourism businesses damaged by FMD.
As well as highlighting the extensive range of things to do
in Cumbria, in terms of marketing activities we will be:
promoting Cumbria's cultural activities that are
unaffected at present;
developing a web based gardens campaign (supported
by a postcard campaign);
developing a web based "gourmet Cumbria"
campaign (supported by a postcard campaign);
publishing and distributing up to 1 million "things
to do" magazines in association with local newspaper groups;
continuing and enhancing the successful postcard
lead generation activity in association with Country Living, Country
Walking, Motoring and Leisure, BBC Gardeners World and other Magazines;
developing IT based package holidays in partnership
with Virgin Railways and with the assistance of Burson Marsteller;
capitalising on travel trade and media interest
in Cumbria generated by Burson Marsteller; and
developing the travel trade website and implementing
2001 travel trade promotions.
7. IN THE
7.1 Ensuring that essential consumer and travel trade
marketing activities are in place for 2002.
7.2 Making the case for a marketing grant scheme for
tourism businesses for 2002.
7.3 Evaluating the scale and impact of FMD on Cumbria's
Tourism Industry, and providing the evidence needed to make the
call for enhanced Government support for tourism marketing and
7.4 Rebuilding consumer confidence in the "Cumbriathe
Lake District" brand and preparing a relaunch campaign to
include image advertising campaigns to the trade and consumers,
both in key overseas markets and within the UK.
7.5 Ensuring that other Government funds and other public
funds are used effectively to provide long-term benefits to both
tourism businesses and tourism support organisations.
8. OUTSTANDING ISSUES
8.1 We anticipate greater recognition of the importance
of tourism to the UK economy in the light of this national crisis.
In the Cumbrian economy, tourism has a greater significance than
any other region of England. The Countryside Agency had already
identified Cumbria as a deprived area before the onset of FMD.
Tourism is one of the few industries with the potential to grow
in the Region, yet Cumbria and its tourism industry have been
hit harder by FMD than any other part of the UK. We need recognition
of Cumbria as a special case, with specific, targeted assistance
to protect high quality businesses that are unable to trade effectively
through this crisis.
8.2 Confusing messages from "official sources"
continue to cause media hysteria and misrepresentation that result
in cancellation of bookings and visits to Cumbria. We need the
media to provide accurate portrayals of situations, but with full
regard for the impact of their reporting.
8.3 Poor ICT infrastructure within both the private and
public sector continues to cause problems, confusion and inefficiencies.
The urgent need for the industry and public sector to adopt an
effective ICT infrastructure to assist tourism development, marketing
and promotion has been well demonstrated by this crisis.
8.4 Decisions on managing the disease continue to be
taken without reference to the impact on the wider economy. Blanket
restrictions imposed by MAFF have caused a complete ban on hill/fell
walking and an extensive range of outdoor activities. Until we
regain access to the fells for serious walking and climbing etc,
no amount of advertising will help businesses and whole communities
that are dependent on these activities. Advice on the risks associated
with adopting strategies that would enable the fells to reopen
needs to be clearly stated.
8.5 We need information requests to be co-ordinated around
a common set of data. A large number of "information"
requests have emanated from local and regional Government agencies,
the media, visitors and community groups, all adding to the pressure
imposed on scarce resources.
8.6 We need marketing funds that will enable the Cumbrian
tourism industry to relaunch itself and compete effectively on
the World stage. Our marketing strategy is costed at £11.75
million, for which we have secured commitment for only £2.5
million to date.