TV focus on bumper year for Cumbria parks

Henry Wild explains to ITV why he believes Cumbria's holiday parks have experienced a triumphant tourism year

Henry Wild explains to ITV why he believes Cumbria’s holiday parks have experienced a triumphant tourism year

Television cameras zoomed in on a Lake District holiday park this week after figures were released showing a sharp rise in caravan and camping visitors to Cumbria in 2017.

ITV’s Look North visited Skelwith Fold caravan park in Ambleside following the results of a survey by Cumbria Tourism of how well businesses had fared this year.

All sectors reported a lift in visitor numbers – but the runaway winner was Lakeland’s caravan and camping parks industry which saw a 12% increase in visitors.

Helping to fuel Cumbria’s popularity with holiday guests, said the news report, was the granting earlier this year of World Heritage status to the Lake District.

Brexit also played a part, it suggested, with the weak pound drawing more visitors from overseas to Britain, and persuading cost-conscious UK families to stay in this country.

Skelwith provides holiday homes, glamping and touring facilities

Skelwith provides holiday homes, glamping and touring facilities

At Skelwith Fold, which has nearly 500 holiday home and touring pitches, business owner Henry Wild said that another reason was the high quality experience which parks provided:

“We have a good product which encourages people to make return visits, and recommend this type of holiday to others,” he told the programme, screened throughout northern England.

“Although I’m always reluctant to base future predictions on just one single year, I think there is every indication that future prospects are extremely positive.

“The task now for Cumbria is to maintain a high publicity profile, and to attract the type of visitors who truly appreciate what the Lake District offers, and not least its natural beauty.

“We also need to be aware that overseas guests are exposed to very strong branding promotions from other parts of the UK, especially Wales and Scotland.

“Our job is to persuade visitors arriving in this country to turn left on the M6 motorway into Cumbria, and to discover Britain’s brightest tourism star,” added Henry.

Skelwith Fold was crowned as Lakeland’s top holiday park in the Cumbria Tourism Awards earlier this year, and has been praised for its environmental care.

Other businesses interviewed for the programme echoed Henry’s cautious confidence that tourism in the county would continue on an upward trajectory.

Look North also spoke with Gill Haigh who recently took up the position of managing director of Cumbria Tourism, and who said the survey pointed to a buoyant 2018 season.

Tourism, she said, was a crucial component of Cumbria’s economy, and sustained many jobs as well as smaller family-run businesses in the county.

Earlier this year, Ms Haigh paid a fact-finding visit to Skelwith Fold where she also met with other park owners attending a meeting of the Cumbria branch of BH&HPA.