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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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Olympic Games badly hit summer business claim Lake District firms

Some of the biggest names in Lake District tourism say the Olympics has seriously hit business.

Hotels, B&Bs and tourist attractions in the holiday magnet around Windermere are reporting numbers down.

It is likely to mean lower profile areas and operators suffering too.

The four star Lakeside Hotel, Windermere Lake Cruises, The World of Beatrix Potter and the Mountain Goat bus tour company are among the large companies reporting a decline.

The fall off is largely attributed to high-spending international visitors from overseas not heading to the Lakes or Cumbria.

The Japanese market - a regular staple in the summer – has not visited in the same numbers or have avoided England altogether - possibly for fear of being priced out of hotels in London during the games.

The spectacular athletics show coincided with the period in which the Japanese market usually holidays in the area.

In addition, the lucrative UK coach party market - fetching hundreds of guests all at once into accommodation and places to eat and drink - has not performed. It is suspected that many coach firms were promoting excursions to London as this summer’s main event.

The four-star Lakeside Hotel at Windermere says trade has now picked up but was below what it usually is at this time of the year. Passengers on Windermere Lake Cruises - reputed to be the Lake District’s most popular annual tourist attraction - fell 22 per cent during the Olympics.

Just this week culture secretary and tourism minister Jeremy Hunt announced a “post-Olympic tourism revolution.” He promised £2 million in funding to promote destinations around England to the home markets, and £8 million for 2013 aimed at tripling visitors from the emerging Chinese travellers. Mr Hunt said: “We must use this extraordinary year to turbo-charge our tourism industry, to create jobs and prosperity on the back of a globally-enhanced reputation.”

Commenting on the announcement, Ian Stephens, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism (CT) said it was still too early to decipher what the investment would mean for the Lake District and Cumbria.

Mr Stephens said: “We’ve not yet seen any of the detail behind the announcements but of course we’re pleased with the Government’s continuing commitment to developing tourism in the UK.

“Most of the Government spending on tourism to date has been at a national level, so CT and tourism businesses in Cumbria will, I’m sure, be pressing for more local support to help the industry recover from the downturn.”

Just last week, Cumbria Tourism said it was working alongside national tourism body Visit England to try and address this season’s issues with an unexpected late summer and autumn marketing push.

The tourist board has finally received £750,000 in Government funds for the next two-and-half years and its first phase of spending will be on a pan-London marketing campaign for the end of August and autumn promoting the area across the capital’s tube and rail stations.

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