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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

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'Join forces call' at first tourism conference in Carlisle

People and firms in Carlisle need to redouble efforts to attract more tourists after a visitor slump.

Linda Tuttiett photo
Linda Tuttiett

That was the warning given to delegates at the city’s first tourism conference yesterday.

They were told that bad weather and the recession had led to nine per cent fewer visitors at Carlisle attractions during 2012 with profits dipping for hotels and guest houses too.

Jason Freezer, head of destination management at VisitEngland said: “One of the things we can do is look at what’s unique about Carlisle. People have to work together to do this and understand Carlisle.

“The Lake District and Hadrian’s Wall have a stronger resonance than Carlisle nationally and you have to play to your strengths.”

The Lake District had the second highest satisfaction levels in England, just behind Cornwall, he added.

Linda Tuttiett, of the Hadrian’s Wall Trust, also spoke, highlighting the wall’s potential to bring in millions of pounds to the Cumbrian economy and create hundreds of jobs.

But she revealed disappointment that 95 per cent of the Hadrian’s Wall bus service comes from Northumberland, pleading with Cumbria to contribute more to the service.

A further £30,000 from Northumberland means that a shuttle service between Brampton and Hexham would start soon, it was announced

Anne Quilter, portfolio holder for tourism with Carlisle City Council responded by saying: “It is certainly something I am going to look into, having heard the benefits that the bus can bring to the area.”

City council deputy leader Colin Glover said he was passionate about Carlisle and believed the strengths that must be capitalised on come from the area’s rich heritage.

He added: “Places like the castle and the cathedral have a fantastic heritage. But it’s not just about the buildings themselves, it’s about the stories they could tell. Another strength is retail. We have a great mix of shops, and the independent businesses in the historic quarter can really bring the city centre and the castle and cathedral back together.”

In a day of sharing ideas and opinions on the way forward for Carlisle’s tourism industry, it was agreed that different organisations must work together better in order to put Carlisle on the tourism map, alongside the Lake District and Hadrian’s Wall.

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