The six Cumbrian MPs Rory, Sir Tony Cunningham MP, Tim Farron MP, Jamie Reed MP, John Stevenson MP and John Woodcock MP in association with Cumbria Tourism hosted today’s inaugural meeting of the Cumbria Tourism Associate Parliamentary Group in Westminster. The group was established earlier this year following discussions between the Cumbrian MPs and the representatives of Cumbria Tourism around how to improve the voice of Cumbrian Tourism in Westminster, and to promote the county further afield.

Today’s meeting, held in Parliament, focused on the immense potential for growth of the Cumbrian economy, much of which pivots on the continuing success of the Cumbrian tourism sector. The meeting brought together a wide variety of representatives from Cumbrian business, heritage, local government, and local charities, and involved a panel discussion with the six Cumbrian MPs.

Sir Tony Cunningham MP said: “It’s great to see Cumbrian MPs coming together in parliament with businesses and the tourism industry in Cumbria to discuss how to promote the county both across the UK and further afield internationally.  Cumbria is a brilliant place and it’s important the promote this to ensure the tourism industry grows and thrives in the coming years.”

Tim Farron MP said “Tourismplays an absolutely vital role in the Cumbrian economy.  As a group of MPs we understand its value and we are working together to get the government to support the sector more. I want the Government and the tourism industry to designate Cumbria, with the Lake District put front and centre as an international attack brand for a tourism campaign. We have fantastic attractions, unique hospitality and breathtaking scenery. I will keep working hard to make sure Cumbria’s tourism sector is heard in Westminster.  I know that working together we can fight for the best deal possible for the county.”

Jamie Reed MP said: “We have to address the huge demographic and economic challenges facing Cumbria. Nobody has a monopoly of wisdom. We need a collective effort to secure the economic growth that the county needs and we urgently need to rebalance our economy by protecting and growing our private sector. The county’s MPs are all committed to this goal and a stronger tourism industry is a key aspect of this.”

John Stevenson MP said: “It’s good to see Cumbrian MPs engaging with Cumbria businesses to discuss why business is important to us all. It is important for us all to ensure we have a vibrant and successful economy for the future.”

Rory said “Cumbria is the most beautiful place in England, and one of the most beautiful in the entire world. But if we are to grow a tourism economy, we need to begin by focusing hard. Money is limited. Time is limited. We can’t do everything. We must make sure we provide what visitors want, not what we think they ought to like. We need to be tough about distinguishing between different areas, and make difficult choices. We can’t market, and develop everything. And we cannot ignore the enormous advantage we already have – and must keep – with the Lake District.”

John Woodcock  MP said: “The visitor economy is important to the whole of Cumbria – including Furness – and it was good to discuss how better transport links can help attract more people across the area in addition to the tourist hotspots. As we develop our economic strategy for the region, it is vital we recognise how diverse sectors such as tourism and manufacturing can actually boost each other rather than being in conflict.”

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