The first phase of a high-profile marketing campaign gets underway this week, aimed at supporting the tourism and hospitality businesses hardest hit by train disruption in recent months.
Following robust and sustained lobbying at government level, Cumbria Tourism worked with Cumbria County Council and Transport for the North to secure £285,000 for a marketing campaign funded by the rail industry. In its role as the county’s official Destination Management Organisation, it is now launching part one of this high-impact campaign in the countdown to the main 2019 holiday season.
The aim is to dispel perceptions that Cumbria is inaccessible by rail, as well as giving visitors practical ideas and inspiration to encourage them to book breaks away. It will support locations such as South Lakeland, Morecambe Bay and Cumbria’s West Coast, where businesses say they lost vital income during last summer’s train cancellations.
Outdoor advertising at key transport hubs in Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London Euston will run alongside targeted online marketing on platforms including Facebook and Spotify. There will also be content in high-circulation newspaper titles such as the London Metro and Manchester Evening News, alongside a PR campaign targeting social media influencers.
The activity will co-incide with the launch of a new 25% discount off* selected off-peak Northern rail services in Cumbria.
Cumbria Tourism’s Head of Marketing and Sales, Rachel Tyson, says, “It has been a challenging period for travellers and it’s important that we not only rebuild confidence in the rail services, but also positively inspire potential visitors about the range of possibilities on offer in the Lake District, Cumbria.
“As well as highlighting train services, we will be signposting visitors to onward travel options, so they understand that connections are available to bus services and car hire from train stations, as well as regular scheduled boat services on Windermere, Coniston and Ullswater. We want to get people thinking differently about all forms of sustainable travel, including buses and boats, so they are inspired to make the journey part of the overall experience rather than just a way of getting from A to B.”
Cllr Keith Little, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport says, “I am delighted that Cumbria Tourism has received this funding for a marketing campaign to promote our beautiful county. Last year’s rail disruption had a severe impact on Cumbrian commuters and businesses, and we’ve worked hard to lobby for this funding. I am confident that the revised timetables and measures introduced by Northern will result in a more reliable and effective service that meets the needs of Cumbria as a tourist, business and academic destination.”
A second wave of activity will launch later this year, to co-incide with the main visitor season.