Speaking to a packed out audience at the Outdoors Industry Association AGM, Rory Stewart MP said the outdoors was “the soul of Britain’ and encouraged the outdoor industry to focus more on Cumbria. ‎He argued that Cumbria could learn more from Austria and Switzerland on how to make the Outdoor Industry transform the economy.

The two day event saw around 250 delegates gather from various companies and organisations across the sector, to discuss the future of the outdoor industry, how to better engage with relevant local and national bodies, and how to encourage greater take up of outdoor activities among the British public.

The Penrith and The Border MP would like to make Cumbria a world-leader in outdoor pursuits and education, and has worked closely with Newton Rigg College and other local outdoor pursuits specialists to put in place proposals to make this a reality. Tourism is now the largest sector of the Cumbrian economy, and sustains thousands of small businesses, but Rory Stewart has previously expressed concerns that the outdoor industry’s full potential has not been recognised, and that it is often not Cumbrians who are benefiting the most.

Rory Stewart said: “I believe that all of us – including local schools and businesses – could do more to equip our local young people with the skills and experience required to take advantage of the huge potential the outdoor industry still offers here in Cumbria. We need a far more imaginative approach to bring about the perfect win-win scenario, in which we combine the genius and energy of local young people with the economic future of the region.”

The OIA AGM offered Rory Stewart the opportunity to engage with many businesses from across the UK, and he encouraged many to consider Cumbria as the perfect choice to grow and expand. Some, such as Mountain Munchkins, would seem to have taken him up on his offer, and announced they intend on relocating to his constituency.

Speaking after the event Rory Stewart said:

“The outdoor industry continues to hold huge potential for Britain, and for Cumbria in particular. Our local landscape is something very precious, and I am delighted to see so many businesses doing so well on a business model that encourages more of us to make the most of the great outdoors. I do think that more dialogue between outdoor centres, businesses, hotels and schools, would be of real benefit in the industry – especially locally – and the OIA seems like the perfect organisation in which to make this happen.”

Print Friendly and PDF