Tourism businesses looking to responsibly bounce back after the pandemic should work together to promote Cumbria as the UK’s staycation capital and maximise the capacity of what it has to offer.
With holidaymakers facing overseas travel restrictions, businesses should, when it is safe to do so, work together to plan a campaign to market the county, says Jamie Allison, head of Napthens’ Cumbria office. He emphasised that there is a lot of short and mid-term preparation to do – with the Cumbrian Local Enterprise Partnership and Cumbria Tourism working hard behind the scenes to assist the visitor economy.
He says launching of the campaign will allow the region to attract local holidaymakers to the area, encouraging more money to be spent locally whilst managing the capacity of the offering.
Jamie said: “Those regions and businesses who plan to hit the ground running when the lockdown lifts will be best placed to get back to growth quicker.
“To do that, all businesses need to work together and contribute to a strategy to promote Cumbria as the number one staycation for people desperate for a holiday but unable to go abroad – something which Cumbria Tourism has high on its agenda when the county is safe to fully welcome back its visitors.
“That way, hotels, restaurants and bars can hopefully generate some revenue from the tail end of the season to at least help them through the winter months and look at trying to operate more profitably and really make use of our public realm assets in the county.
“That said, there will be some businesses that cannot maximise a return and they may well have to make the decision on either operating on small margins, funding losses or they may not be viable financially due to social distancing for the time-being. Nonetheless, planning is crucial.
“A marketing strategy, along with a plan to recruit and or retain hospitality staff should be explored as well as ways to maximise the use of our fantastic public realm assets and involve the private stakeholders in the planning and promotion.”
Jamie also suggests that the issue of a tourism tax may be a discussion to be had to help businesses and the local economy although there would bound to be some resistance in some quarters. That said, international counterparts have operated this successfully for some years and it has boosted investment in tourism infrastructure and it may help balance the books in the wake of the pandemic he added.
Napthens has been offering advice to navigate the coronavirus pandemic with a specially assembled team, offering advice on employment, health and safety, signposting for funding solutions, business support and Wills and Estate planning. For more information on the support available, visit our COVID-19 Hub