MP celebrates Tourism Week on Cumbria park
MP Tim Farron flew the flag for Cumbria tourism recently (Saturday 31 March) during a special visit to Skelwith Fold caravan park in Ambleside during English Tourism Week.
The event, which ran until 02 April, is designed to put the spotlight on England’s tourism sector, and its huge contribution to regional economies such as Cumbria’s.
Mr Farron, who represents Westmorland and Lonsdale, heard that Skelwith Fold attracts thousands of UK and overseas visitors each year to the Lake District.
The MP and leader of the Liberal Democrats met with members of the staff team, and with Henry Wild whose family business first acquired the park 20 years ago.
Since then, the Wilds have carried out a massive restoration project to return to their former glory the neglected 130-acre grounds of a Victorian country house.
Skelwith Fold’s reward has been to see a steady growth in visitors for the park’s 450-plus pitches, and a raft of awards for the quality of the surroundings.
Its many accolades include the David Bellamy Conservation Award at its top gold level, with the world-famous botanist has describing Skelwith Fold as a “wildlife wonderland”.
Henry Wild told Mr Farron that, according to independent economic research, visitors to Skelwith Fold spend more than £2.6 million in the area every year.
Almost all of that money, said Mr Wild, benefits local enterprises such as shops, cafes, and visitor attractions, supporting the both the businesses and the jobs they provide.
During his visit, Tim Farron commented: “Every year, millions of tourists come to the Lake District to enjoy the beautiful scenery and fantastic cultural offerings of our area.
“This brings in millions of pounds to the local economy and supports local jobs and businesses.
“Tourism Week is a marvellous opportunity to promote our area, and it has been great to visit Skelwith Fold Caravan Park today, and to see their success,” added Mr Farron.
Earlier this year, Henry Wild stepped down from his two-year term as national chairman of the park industry’s official body, the British Holiday and Home Parks Association.
The organisation represents around 3000 UK holiday parks which, according to latest tourist board figures, accommodated 13.5 million holidays in 2015.
The figure equates to 30% of all holiday nights spent by domestic holidaymakers in Britain, and Mr Wild told the MP that he was proud to be playing a role in a vibrant and expanding industry.
He added that Skelwith Fold had a special appeal to lovers of the natural world, and his family had tried to create a park which was a match for the magnificent surroundings.
Henry Wild said he was delighted that Mr Farron was able to take time out to visit his family’s park, and to help raise the profile of English Tourism Week.
Mr Farron, he added, has long shown himself to be a champion of rural businesses, and has given valuable support in areas such as lobbying for access to high-speed broadband in the countryside.