July 4th is usually an important date in the diary for Americans, but this year is also an important date for Britain: the leisure and tourism companies are reopening.
Tourism is an integral part of our Cumbrian economy and contributes to the social fabric of our county. Restaurants, cafes, B & Bs and shops contribute to our tourism sector and many are also used by residents of Cumbria.
However, Cumbria’s tourist offer isn’t just the Lake District (a fantastic resource for the county, however). It is destinations like Cockermouth, Silloth, Workington and Maryport that are the hidden gems, the growth areas – the places where we can improve and increase the number of visitors. Indeed the Lake District is a developed market and represents a solid base for attracting visitors to the county, but it is the commercialization of seaside resorts, market towns and recreational activities that will encourage individuals and families to leave the lakes for a day further away.
I am a strong supporter of local businesses and I am fortunate to have all four of these destination cities in my constituency. As we emerge from the blockade and when the tourism and leisure industries reopen, I am keen to promote these cities as full-fledged tourist destinations.
This is the reason why tomorrow I will visit the tourist attractions, cafes and hotels of these cities, men and women who have worked hard to maintain their business during the blockade. I want to raise awareness of these destinations and promote businesses that contribute to the tourist offer through my constituency.
The likelihood of many people choosing a stay this year is high. Cumbria has a large offer of visitors and I want to see it promoted in other regions. As residents, we can also support these places in an attempt to extend their summer by ensuring that they can reopen next year.
Cumbria should be marketed and treated as a brand. If the tourism sector grows, awareness of the county also grows. Other sectors such as artisanal food and drink and transport may grow following the increase in the number of visitors.
In the coming months I will work hard with Cumbria Tourism and Allerdale Borough Council to improve the number of visitors to the Workington constituency, supporting our autonomous destinations. And I am delighted that both the Maryport High Street Fund and the Workington Towns Deal have incorporated tourist elements into their offerings to make these cities more welcoming to visitors.
There may not be too many Americans visiting Cumbria this year, but I hope to see visitors from all over Britain enjoying their holidays in the cities of my constituency.