AS the summer season comes to a close, Cumbria's tourism body reflected on a fluctuating period, with visitor numbers to attractions remaining 'much lower' than pre-Covid levels.

A spokesperson from Cumbria Tourism said whilst it was a 'slow start to the year', good weather in May and June provided a much-needed boost for day and overnight visitors.

While the serviced and self-catering accommodations are on par with expectations, camping and caravanning are slightly down, likely due to weather conditions.

"We know from a range of measures that spending is down. Numbers to visitor attractions, whilst recovering, remain much lower than before Covid.

"Many businesses report visitors being more cautious around ancillary/secondary spend. Car parking data also shows less spending in some of our car parks, again likely linked to the weather.

"There is such a clear pattern now with the weather forecast.

"A good forecast correlates with good visitor numbers and poorer forecasts with fewer day visitors in particular, possibly linked too to the fact that if people are being careful with their spend and they are choosing to save their visits for the best days," a spokesperson said. 

According to VisitEngland's Domestic Sentiment Tracker for August 2023, the main barrier to trips and expenditure during travel is the cost.

Looking ahead, Cumbria Tourism is focused on ensuring year-round tourism.

"We will be launching our Winter Campaign next month, pushing for bookings throughout the traditionally slower winter months and looking ahead to 2024.

"We are continuing to attend visitor and trade facing shows and events countrywide to promote Cumbria as the perfect autumn and winter destination and will be launching the next phase of our ‘Go Car Free for 2023’ campaign, working with Avanti and Stagecoach, to encourage the use of Cumbria’s sustainable transport offering for both getting here and getting around," they said. 

Cumbria Tourism is actively working to regain its international audience, including attending the Destination Britain North America event in the USA, which marks the start of the travel trade engagement season, both internationally and domestically.

"Over the summer we have hosted a range of national and international journalists and influencers, whose articles will go on to inspire out-of-season visits.

"Events and festivals are a key tool to help market the destination and we will once again be working in partnership to coordinate and promote the Dark Skies Festival which is ideal for families whether you are 8 or 80," they said.