Cumbria Tourism has welcomed Government plans to enter into an official negotiation with the tourism industry for a Tourism Sector Deal, aimed at increasing productivity and driving economic growth.

The plans would officially recognise tourism as a globally competitive ‘industry of the future’ and put it at the top of the Government’s national policy agenda.

In Cumbria, tourism supports almost 65,000 jobs and is worth £2.9 billion to the local economy.

As the county’s official Destination Management Organisation, Cumbria Tourism has been lobbying for an official deal to tackle ssues specifically affecting the county's visitor economy, including skills and labour supply, travel and transport, housing and digital connectivity.

Cumbria Tourism has worked with VisitBritain and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, spoken to Tourism Minister Michael Ellis and raising the issues to a House of Lords Select Committee last month.

It is expected that the negotiations announced by the Government will lead to a final Tourism Sector Deal being announced early next year.

Gill Haigh, managing director of Cumbria Tourism, said: “This is the Government saying they are taking tourism seriously.

"It is a hugely positive statement of intent and the focus is about increasing productivity.

“It is essential that we work together as a county – spanning both the private and public sectors – to ensure that we seize this landmark moment."