As lockdown measures begin to ease, Cumbria Tourism is urging residents to back the county’s local businesses, save jobs and support communities.

The ‘Perfect Place’ campaign encourages us locals to think about planning our holidays at home this year, when the time is right; to invite our friends and families to reconnect, to recharge and to rediscover what’s on our doorstep; to reinvigorate by trying new experiences and explore more; as well as to continue our lockdown passion for buying local food, drink and crafts.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism Gill Haigh says: “We have so much to celebrate and to be proud of here in Cumbria this summer, autumn and into the winter. We’ve got more Michelin stars than anywhere north of London, two World Heritage Sites and three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

"There’s the North Pennines UNESCO geopark, more than 100 miles of stunning coastline and we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to forests like Grizedale and Whinlatter. Then there’s our gardens and parks, our culture and heritage offers including William Wordsworth’s and Beatrix Potter’s legacies, and of course the adventure and relaxation opportunities afforded by our worldclass lakes and mountains.

“For many of us lockdown has provided a unique opportunity to rediscover the beauty and value of all of this, which is right in front of us. Perhaps too often we choose to travel away for our holidays but as we reopen it is the perfect time for us ‘locals’ to invite friends and family to holiday with us here and rediscover old experiences while exploring new ones with fresh appreciation. By doing so, we will be not only guaranteeing ourselves an unforgettable break but also be supporting our tourism businesses which support 65,000 jobs and help underpin our communities as well as our

way of life.”

Shops, pubs, restaurants, cafes and basic services such as post offices, garages and cinemas will also feel the benefits, all of which are enjoyed by visitors and residents alike.

Hundreds are also part of Cumbria Tourism’s ‘MyCumbria’ residents’ reward card scheme, offering discounts with a wide range of businesses for just £20 per year.

Gill Haigh continued: “Lockdown has also brought some other shifts in behaviours and attitudes including a greater appreciation of locally produced food, drink, heritage and culture and bespoke crafts and products.

"We can see the appetite among residents to continue to support local businesses which is a clear sign that by working together, residents can help get their home back on the right path while protecting livelihoods here is more essential than ever.

Cumbria Tourism Chairman Jim Walker said: “Throughout lockdown we have also seen a huge increase in personal exercise for the good of our bodies and mental health after the stress of lockdown.

"We’re seeing more people enjoying activities from fell running to cycling, yoga to horse riding, and simply as somewhere to soak up the natural beauty and help us all to recover from the impact of the past few months on us and our families. By taking some time-out locally and by working together, we can get Cumbria’s economy great again. Residents, businesses, local authorities, Cumbria Tourism’s strategic partners and our members can all make this happen. Of this, I have absolutely no doubt.”