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MP lays out 'new deal' for Cumbria Tourism

November 30, 2009 12:00 AM

Local MP Tim Farron will lay out his plan for a better supported tourism sector and will call for a major injection of funds to promoting the Lake District in a speech to the Federation of Small Businesses tonight.

Over the last week and a half even those communities that have not been flooded have seen a dramatic drop in visitor numbers with some individual businesses reporting a 90% drop in turnover since the floods. This is because of the mistaken impression being given by national media that Cumbria is closed for business.

Given that tourism in Cumbria is worth £1.5billion a year, with around £500million of this figure going straight to the Treasury in taxes, Tim will call on the Government to invest heavily in the marketing and promotion of Cumbria and the Lake District to encourage the recovery of the local economy.

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 £1.5 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 says, "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.

"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."