This article was written for the News & Star.
This week is English Tourism week, an opportunity to celebrate as well as highlight the importance of tourism up and down the country.
Tourism is a significant part of the economy, and in 2019 tourism in England generated over £100 billion a year and supported 2.6 million jobs. We are particularly aware of the importance of the sector here in Cumbria, of course. Our county is the home of the Lake District, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.
But Cumbria also has our great city of Carlisle, with its many significant and important attractions. Our city is superb base for visiting the South of Scotland, or for taking a journey on the Settle to Carlisle railway, or walking Hadrian’s Wall – or indeed just having a traditional city break to take in the historical sites as well as the museums, restaurants, bars and cafes.
But the fact is for some reason we have never been as good as we should have been in publicising our city and emphasising the attractions. We have a beautiful and unique Cathedral which has just celebrated its 900th birthday. We have Carlisle Castle, a medieval building packed with hundreds of years of history. And between the two we have Tullie House, a nationally renowned museum and art gallery. On top of this, there are many other attractions around the city, such as the Guild Hall, the Aviation Museum, and Hadrian’s Wall itself with its nearby Roman settlements.
The other great attraction of Carlisle is just how compact a city it is, with the ability to visit many of the attractions I have just mentioned on foot, all whilst taking you through our attractive city centre. On top of this the city has a football club, racecourse and other impressive sporting facilities which add to the sell we have to visitors.
Our night-time economy has been changing over the years with lots of new bars and restaurants emerging – and of course we have the accommodation available to tourists who want to come to our city.
As a city we need to use initiatives like English Tourism Week to publicise and highlight Carlisle to tourists from the rest of the UK, as well as from the rest of the world. But our real challenge is to do this for our city every week of the year – because Carlisle is a city with plenty to boast about.