Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border, was delighted to meet businesses inAlston and Kirkby Stephen during English Tourism Week. Dr Hudson met with Gill Haigh from Cumbria Tourism to discuss the challenges and opportunities of re-opening with businesses who are welcoming customers. In these discussions, there was an optimism that Cumbria is very much a world-class visitor destination and there is hope for the summer ahead.
Dr Hudson commented on his visits, saying:
“It was fantastic to be out and about in the constituency talking to businesses who are excited to welcome visitors in the coming months. It was great to meet the staff at the beautiful Augill Castle near Kirkby Stephen as they prepare for an increase in visitors and hope to bounce back from lockdown. Furthermore, my visit to Alston highlighted that Cumbria is very much open for business and, as I am sure there will be an increase of UK holidays this year, I cannot think of a better place for folk to visit than Cumbria.
The businesses I spoke to welcomed the government support they have received to date and were also focused on continuing the implement the extra Covid-safe measures that they have become well acquainted with over the last year. It appears that the recipe for success for these businesses is a combination of being prepared for the return of large numbers of visitors and those visitors making the bookings to enjoy these venues in the first instance. Local businesses say they are ready to receive visitors and indeed hopeful that they will come. As I have done throughout this crisis, I will continue to champion our tourism and hospitality businesses by representing their interests at Westminster and engaging with them locally.”
Gill Haigh (Managing Director at Cumbria Tourism) added:
“English Tourism Week is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate everything that’s great about tourism in Cumbria, and that has never been important than now after the torrid year everyone – visitors and businesses alike – have had.
So it was brilliant to get together with Neil to visit a wide cross section of tourism businesses in Alston and in Kirkby Stephen. From accommodation, pub and restaurant owners, to attractions and suppliers, these multiple small businesses make up Cumbria’s important visitor economy, support 65,000 jobs and are integral to their communities. The businesses we spoke to are grateful for the government support they have received, excited to be getting back to what they do best but we also all recognise that there is still a long way to go and that we must continue to work closely together to support the recovery of this exceptional industry.”