A MOVE to bring more tourists to Furness has been welcomed by the area's MP.

Barrow MP John Woodcock said a plan for Cumbria to become a Tourism Action Zone would help attract visitors away from the beauty of the Lake District to the peninsula.

It came as Copeland MP Trudy Harrison invited the Government’s new tourism minister to the county to progress the bid and to showcase the area.

“This is a good call by Trudy and would be a great opportunity to showcase how much the currently less visited part of the county like Furness have to offer," said Mr Woodcock.

“Some of the most stunning parts of England are in Furness, from our historic Abbey to the nature reserves on Walney Island and amazing Piel Island. Yet currently only a small fraction of the 40 million visitors to the Lake District come and spend money in our area.

“The Furness tourism summit I hosted this year underlined the enthusiasm from local businesses to change that and I am determined to help them in the coming months.”

Chairing a tourism meeting in Whitehaven, Mrs Harrison agreed to be an ambassador for the campaign to boost visitor numbers, based on a one-Cumbria approach.

She said: “Tourism I feel is an untapped potential for us and it’s not just about leisure but business visitors also.”

The Government is looking to create five Tourism Action Zones, which would see funding and support for those that need help to increase visitor numbers and make the most of attractions.

Copeland Mayor Mike Starkie said: “An increase of two per cent in tourism would put millions into the local economy. Copeland Council is just about to appoint a tourism officer and a coastal communities officer, we are serious about tourism.”

Gill Haigh, managing director of Cumbria Tourism, said: "Cumbria Tourism has been leading plans for a Cumbria wide bid for a Tourism Action Zone for many months, alongside the LEP and local authority partners, and we strongly welcome Trudy’s support that demonstrates our unity, strength and commitment.”