LAST week was 'Tourism Week'.

We do seem to have a week for everything these days – but I think tourism is something definitely worth putting a focus on!

And so the week was an opportunity to promote what is on offer nationally and locally as well as to highlight the importance of the sector to the economy. Here in Cumbria, it is obvious how important tourism is.

Indeed, the Lake District is one of the most popular destinations in England after London.

As an aside, I wonder what people would think about the idea of an introduction of a visitor charge to The Lake District – a small fee added in the bill of those staying over in the national park, with the proviso that the money raised goes on infrastructure and services to make coming to Cumbria easier and more pleasant, and to ensure that those who live here have better services. If done properly it could actually go to boost our tourist industry.

But what exactly is the 'tourist industry'?

Of course, it is accommodation – hotels and B&Bs, as well as hostels, Airbnbs, campsites, glamping and other options. But it is also travel, including everything that goes along with that (such as places like Tebay Services). Sometimes the travel itself is the holiday, as with the beautiful Settle-Carlisle railway line!

Then there are also the activities; hiking, kayaking, swimming, going to shows – all of these things are directly or indirectly supported by tourism. And, for me at least, there is the most important part of being on holiday – the food and drink.

Here in Cumbria, we are lucky enough to have all of these things in abundance – and they are in abundance, in part, because of tourism. It is obvious that tourism is an important part of our area, given we have the Lake District.

As such, the Lakes are a source of much economic activity, providing the livelihood for thousands of people and families. But we also must recognise that tourism in Cumbria is more than just the Lake District.

Here in Carlisle, for example, we have enormous potential with such places to visits as the Cathedral, the Castle, and Tullie House – all packed full with a huge amount of history, from 10,000 years ago to modern times.

We also have Hadrian’s Wall and the history that goes with that, through to activity locations such as Walby Park Farm, shows at the Sands Centre and Brunton Park, indoor rock-climbing, axe throwing, the bird of prey centre, aviation museum – and much more.

Alongside this of course are the many hotels, B&B, restaurants, and pubs and bars to provide hospitality and offer local produce of such excellent quality.

As I often keep pointing out Carlisle is a great city, but sometimes we need to sell ourselves better.

So, when it comes to next year’s tourism week, we really need to emphasise the point that Carlisle is not a stop, it is a destination.