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Government announces new package of support to boost tourism

Thursday, 28th January 2016

A package of measures to boost the North of England’s tourism industry and encourage British families to visit the region over the Easter break has been announced by the Prime Minister today.

The announcement comes ahead of a visit to Cumbria and Lancashire, where the PM will witness first-hand how government investment is already helping businesses affected by December’s floods get back on their feet.

The new package will include £2 million of government funding which will be used to fix bridges, rebuild walls and restore footpaths across the iconic Lake District National Park.
And as part of this, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) have identified 180 local apprentices who will be mobilised to help with the park’s repair effort.

It will also feature £1 million in new funding to launch a marketing campaign, co-ordinated by VisitEngland, encouraging British families to spend their Easter break in the North of England.

The package builds on the Government’s £10 million programme to grow tourism in the north, a new £4 million Holidays at Home are GREAT Campaign, and advertising space worth £500,000 has also been made available at Heathrow to promote flood affected areas.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“From York Minster to Honister Mine, Carlisle Castle to the Leeds Armories, the North has some of the most iconic tourist attractions the UK has to offer. So it is absolutely right that we do everything we can to make sure these businesses feel supported and ready to receive visitors.

“The measures we've announced today are an important step, showcasing the best the region’s tourist industry has to offer while helping one of its key attractions in the Lake District National Park get back on its feet.”

After weathering a record-breaking month of rainfall during December, rangers and volunteers have been surveying the Lake District National Park’s 1,400 bridges and 2,000 miles of paths.

The funding announced today will not only ensure that any damaged will be fixed as quickly as possible, but will ensure that many of these structures are reinforced to ensure they are resilient to flooding in the future.

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss added:
“The Lake District National Park is a jewel in the crown of the British countryside, attracting visitors from around the world to walk, relax and unwind against a breath-taking backdrop.
The support we have promised today will help get those parts of the park in need of repair ready for visitors, so that families looking forward to their Easter and summer breaks can visit this stunning environment and back businesses and communities affected by the recent floods.”

The new £1 million DCMS-funded advertising campaign will launch on February 9 to coincide with the run-up to the February half-term and Easter holidays and will help showcase the world-leading attractions and stunning countryside Yorkshire, Northumberland, Cumbria and Lancashire have to offer.

The campaign will target audiences in London and the South East, using London Underground posters, national press, social media and radio as well as key markets in Scotland and the North.

Culture Secretary John Whittingdale said: 
"We are ensuring that our tourism businesses are given as much support as possible as they recover from the recent floods.

“The message is clear – the region is full of world-class attractions that are very much open for business. This campaign will showcase the many fantastic places that are ready to welcome visitors in the coming weeks and months."

Ruth Connor, Chief Executive of Marketing Lancashire said, “We are delighted that Marketing Lancashire has been able to secure a place for Lancashire in the £1m PR campaign to encourage British families to spend their holidays in the North. Since early December Marketing Lancashire has been working with the Economic Development team at Lancashire County Council, DCMS, VisitEngland and our tourism partners to stress that the county is very much OPEN for business. 

“The visitor economy is a priority sector for Lancashire as the county welcomes over 63million visitors a year.  It is very important that visitors are made aware that these tourism businesses are open especially with the February Half-Term and Easter holidays fast approaching. The additional marketing activity will aid in raising the profile of the tourism offer in Lancashire and Northern England whilst encouraging visitors to visit, stay, discover and explore what this wonderful and historic county has to offer.”

The government’s support comes after some businesses in affected areas reported a drop in bookings of up to 60 per cent. 

Tourism businesses that have been directly impacted by the flooding are eligible for BIS’ £6 million flood recovery grant.

NOTES TO EDITORS:
*The Government is committed to ensuring those affected by flooding continue to get all the help they need. In total, the Government’s investment in recovery from December’s floods now amounts to nearly £200 million.

*We also announced the National Resilience Review in December to identify additional flood protection measures for Cumbrian communities affected by extreme weather events.

*Thanks to the Lake District National Park’s popularity, tourism is a major contributor to the local economy. Rangers and volunteers have been surveying the park’s 1,400 bridges and 2,000 miles of paths since early December and a rights of way map has been published to show visitors the best routes to take. The visitor centre at Brockhole and the Coniston Boating Centre are open as usual with a host of family-friendly activities.

*The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is linking up with the four main FE colleges in Cumbria who have identified up to 180 students with a variety of vocational skills to volunteer within the National Park and wider Cumbria area to support the recovery effort and gain valuable work experience to add to their CVs. In addition, major employers like Sellafield, Pirelli and BAE systems have come forward with a significant offer to support the volunteering effort in the coming weeks and months

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