Businesses of all types came together to show off their wares and network as the region prepares for the peak tourist season.

More than 140 businesses are exhibiting at The Lakes Hospitality Trade Show, which is taking place at the Junction 36 Rural Auction Centre, near Kendal, today and tomorrow.

Staged by the Lakes Hospitality Association and Cumbria Tourism, the event is a chance for businesses to showcase and discover some the latest developments in the sector.

Those present vary from brands such as Heineken to well-established local names including Farrer’s Tea and Coffee Merchants, in Kendal, University of Cumbria and Aspatria-based Sealy Beds.

Cumbrian hotelier James Tasker, who is also one of three directors of the Lakes Hospitality Trade Association, said the number of exhibitors had increased from 126 last year and projected that visitor numbers would be up by as much as 20 per cent.

“We’ve got everybody from guest house owners to managing directors of hotel groups,” he said.

“It’s an opportunity to network and to meet on so many different levels. Whether it’s a bed and breakfast owner who needs new pillows or the large hotel owner who is looking to change their meat supplier.

“We are keeping up on what’s new within the market place and that’s being past onto Cumbria so that our wonderful hospitality industry remains cutting edge, as well as helping people form relationships with the wonderful brands right on our doorstep.”

Mr Tasker, whose wife Sarah organises the show, said they were considering increasing the space next year.

“The main option we have available is to extend the marquee we have to get more exhibitors in,” he said.

Any profits from the show are donated towards running other local events.