Park platform for new Cumbria Tourism chief 

Lake District holiday park owners meeting in Ambleside this week (06 Nov) received a pledge of support for their businesses from the newly appointed head of Cumbria Tourism.

Gill Haigh, who recently took up the position of managing director at the destination management organisation, said that holiday parks were a vital component of the county’s visitor economy.

Gill was the special guest at a meeting of the Cumbria branch of the British Holiday and Home Parks Association to which around 100 mainly family-owned parks belong.

The event was held at Skelwith Fold caravan park just outside Ambleside which is the current holder of Cumbria Tourism’s Holiday Park of the Year title.

Gill was welcomed to the meeting by branch director and business owner Henry Wild who, with his father Syd, first acquired Skelwith Fold twenty years ago.

Addressing delegates in the park’s Sustainable Development Centre, Gill said that she herself had many fond memories of family holidays spent in caravans.

Guests today, she said, had a right to expect the highest standards of quality and hospitality, and that’s exactly what Cumbria’s park industry has proved itself capable of delivering.

This had even greater resonance, she said, now that Cumbria has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status and could truly be described as a world-class destination.

Henry Wild pointed out that guests staying on holiday parks in Cumbria make a huge financial contribution to the region’s tourism economy.

According to independently produced figures, he told Gill, Cumbria’s parks are responsible for approximately £73.5 million of spending each year in the county.

The vast majority of this sum, said Henry, is fed into the local economy, helping to support many other smaller businesses in Cumbria and sustaining the jobs which they provide.

Following her talk, Gill joined other branch members on a tour of the 130-acre grounds of Skelwith Fold which have received a number of major environmental awards.

Henry Wild said he was delighted that Gill was able to take time to engage with holiday park businesses in the county, and he looked forward to his sector working closely with her in the future.