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Tourism Summit addresses future challenges and sustainability opportunities to the visitor economy in Eden

Eden’s tourism businesses embraced the challenges and opportunities facing a sustainable visitor destination at the eighth annual Eden Tourism Eden Tourism SummitSummit.

Delegates acknowledged the need to address sustainable issues and the importance of offsetting carbon emissions, at the event held at the North Lakes Hotel and Spa on Thursday 17 October.

The one-day event organised by Eden District Council’s Tourism Team on behalf of the Eden Tourism Network, brought together tourism businesses to enjoy a morning of exciting presentations and very lively debate in the afternoon workshops.

Jessica Goodfellow, joint Tourism Manager, commented: “We were delighted to give our businesses the opportunity to come together and actively participate in key issues affecting the visitor economy.”

Eden District Council Leader Virginia Taylor added: “The summit emphasised the importance of a sustainable tourism product and the need to encourage alternative transport options in the region.”

During the course of the event, delegates positively confirmed their commitment to continue to grow an industry that in 2018 generated £365.4 million to the local economy and welcomed more than 5 million visitors.

Mike Innerdale, Director of National Trust (North Region), who opened the morning presentation session, spoke about rising to the challenges of creating a world class visitor experience and how the National Trust has adapted its core strategy to meet changing needs and opportunities at national, regional and local levels.

Anna Harris, Market Intelligence Consultant for VisitBritain, highlighted trends from the International Passenger Survey and commented: “It was a pleasure to present VisitBritain’s most recent research and insights at the annual Eden Tourism Summit and provide accurate market data to businesses, helping them plan their activity and drive the economic benefits of tourism in the locality.

“Not only was it a wonderful event but the surroundings made me want to stay longer – it’s no surprise Cumbria is such a popular destination.”

Helen Tate, Research Manager with Cumbria Tourism, gave the local picture for Cumbria and Eden from the latest visitor and occupancy surveys, and delegates received some background information about UKinbound Tourism from Nathan Alemany and enjoyed working through practical marketing plans.

Pamela Davidson, general manager at Hutton-in-the-Forest, said: “It has been really useful to catch up with people and network. It comes at a really good time of the year when we are all catching our breath after the summer.”

Following a business to business working lunch the afternoon workshops provided a platform for businesses to express their view points and raise questions. A lively and constructive debate was had by delegates attending the sustainability workshop.

Daniel Holder, owner of The Quiet Site, stated that going green made good business sense on a number of levels, and as well as reducing running costs it was “great at creating a brand which gives you something unique to promote and is also a great motivator with staff”.

Laura Short from CBEN provided delegates with some practical tips to utilise in their businesses.

Jim Walker, Chair of the Eden Tourism Network, summed up the event and closed the conference by commenting: “Never has there been a more important time for businesses to work closely in Eden to achieve success – both in becoming more environmentally and economically sustainable.

“The visitor economy is very strong in this district of Cumbria and everyone is very committed to seeing this continue, despite the range of challenges ahead.”