MP’s hopes for tourism action plan to boost Copeland’s visitor numbers

An action plan on how to tackle tourism in Copeland and bring more visitors to the area is to be drawn up.

A meeting led by MP Trudy Harrison will take place next week which, she hopes, will bring a clear vision on how everyone can play a part in putting the borough firmly on the tourism map.

Copeland receives just 8% of Cumbria's tourism economy, which Mrs Harrison says, "is desperately low considering the wealth of attractions and beauty on our doorstep".

"There is so much more that we can be doing in Copeland both at grassroots level and higher up. But we all need to work together to get going on this,” she said.

“We live in one of the most beautiful parts of the UK and Copeland has so much to offer - from the lakes, to market towns and stunning coastlines - but we have to promote ourselves better and be prepared to make changes to support local residents and businesses.”

The MP has been in talks this week with Tourism Minister Michael Ellis about areas of focus. These include looking at market failures and countering that by extending the tourism season, investing in skills such as apprenticeships, improving employer and visitor accessibility, looking for investment opportunity, attracting more overseas visitors and working together.

A tourism roundtable event in Whitehaven will take place on May 31 and follows on from a successful first Copeland Tourism Summit earlier this year.

“This is an opportunity for all organisations and the public to work together to improve our visitor economy and to have a clear vision of how to achieve a sustainable visitor economy,” said Mrs Harrison.

“As individuals and organisations, we need to have clear objectives of how to work towards that goal. The Lake District receives 18m visitors annually but Copeland only brings in 8%, yet a few miles away we have got saturation, with bumper to bumper road congestion.”

 The MP discussed with the minister about the possibility of Cumbria becoming one of just a handful of Tourism Action Zones to help improve visitor numbers.

“I want to put Cumbria and Copeland in the best possible position to be successful with Tourism Action Zone Status but, whether we are or not, all of these focus areas are exactly what we should be concentrating on,” she said.

“And everyone can help play a part in this by welcoming people to Copeland, writing online reviews, posting pictures of our beautiful area and sharing our outstanding landscape.”

She added: “As an MP my main areas of focus are nuclear, tourism and farming as they are our three greatest assets and are each responsible for bringing over £2.5billion into Cumbria’s economy. Just a small percentage increase in those areas, could mean a significant boost to our quality of life.”