A newly launched ‘English Lake District India Forum’ to help Cumbrian tourism businesses make the most of the UK’s growing appeal to overseas visitors has been welcoming the CEOs of some of India’s top travel agencies to the county.
The new Forum has been set up by Cumbria Tourism to bring together businesses targeting international visitors from the fast-growing Indian market.
This week’s high-level visit (Tuesday 18 and Wednesday 19 June) co-incides not only with the launch of the Forum, but also celebrates the ICC Cricket World Cup in England and Wales, which is a massive draw for Indian sports fans.
The group includes Chief Executives and Managing Directors from leading travel agencies like Cox & Kings India and KFT Holidays, as well as trade media, airline partner Oman Air and representatives from VisitBritain.
Cumbria Tourism’s renewed India-focus is part of a long-term partnership with Marketing Manchester, who hosted the group for the India Vs Pakistan match at Old Trafford on Sunday, before they headed to Cumbria to explore the wider North West region.
The delegates have been travelling through South and Central Lakes to the Eden Valley to experience key visitor attractions including Gilpin Spice; Windermere Jetty, Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories; Windermere Lake Cruises; Lake District Country Hotels; Mountain Goat; Grasmere Gingerbread and Lowther Castle.
A cricket-themed drinks reception at Storrs Hall also celebrated the Cricket World Cup, including a helping hand from Millom Cricket Club and their Sri Lankan professional, Sameera Sadamal.
A second Indian delegation will travel to Cumbria next Monday 24 June, just ahead of the India Vs West Indies cricket match in Manchester. It will bring India Forum members together with key Indian Destination Management Companies which offer services including tours, travel packages and airport transfers. The aim is to help increase their knowledge of the country outside London and put Cumbria at the centre of their planning decisions for the coming year.
The new India Forum is the culmination of work Cumbria Tourism has been doing with Marketing Manchester in recent months, to help promote the Indian sub-continent and meet with Indian tour operators and travel agents face-to-face.
Cumbria Tourism’s Managing Director Gill Haigh says, “Cumbria has a compelling message for Indian visitors, who are renowned for their love of culture, heritage and the natural landscape. Businesses joining the India Forum will help forge even stronger links with overseas trade contacts and take an active role in encouraging more leisure visitors from the world’s fastest growing economy.
“Working with Marketing Manchester is also essential, as we join together to unlock new opportunities and promote the wider North West to potential visitors from the Indian sub-continent.”
Sheona Southern, Managing Director of Marketing Manchester says: “India is an incredibly important market in Greater Manchester’s international growth ambitions. The subcontinent is a significant region of growth; responsible for nearly 17million outbound visits a year, with Indian visitors to the UK spending more than £400m in the UK annually.
“As such, it is vital that we work with our partners in the north to make the most of the opportunity that the Indian market presents, and we look forward to further collaboration with Cumbria Tourism’s new India Forum over the coming months and years to do exactly that.”
12 Cumbrian tourism business have already signed up form a Steering Group for the new India forum, including:
- Dove Cottage & The Wordsworth Trust
- Gilpin Hotel & Lake House
- Grasmere Gingerbread
- Mountain Goat
- Muncaster Castle
- Lake District Country Hotels
- Lake District Estates
- Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway
- Storrs Hall
- The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction
- Treetop Trek and Treetop Nets
- Windermere Lake Cruises
Businesses interested in joining the Forum can contact [email protected] for more information.