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Cumbria Tourism needs a new deal

November 3, 2009 12:00 AM

MP Tim Farron has hit out at the Government's appalling lack of support for Cumbria Tourism and has called for a fair deal to allow the county's tourism 'product' to be better sold.

Cumbria is home to Britain's two leading national Parks - the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. The County's tourism industry brings in around £1.3 billion in income and yet the official tourism body for Cumbria has a budget of only £1million a year. This compares to Visit Scotland with a budget of £48million, Visit London with a budget of over £15million and the Yorkshire Tourism Board with a budget of £8million.

Tim said "The value to the UK of our tourism industry in Cumbria is immense - but we get almost nothing back to help us to build on this gem. Outside of London, the Lake District is Britain's premier tourism destination - and yet we have only a million pounds a year to help us compete in the tough international tourism market. "

"I want a new deal for Cumbria tourism which would mean an annual budget devolved from the Government Office of the North West of £10million to boost marketing in the UK and overseas, to protect and develop tourist information centres and to help with grants to allow visitor attractions to upgrade their facilities. In return we could promise the UK tax payer an increase in revenue well in excess of their investment.

"I sometimes worry that if Japan were to drop Beatrix Potter from its English Literature syllabus we would be up the Swanny - we have a world-class tourism product here, and we are not getting the backing we need to get the best out of it.

"I am calling for a new deal - and the deal is this: if government will give us £10 million a year to boost Cumbria's tourism, then we will guarantee to increase the revenue to the exchequer by £50 million as a result of that investment."