Sustainable Tourism: A Plan for Cumbria's Enduring Growth

Campaign for Sustainable Infrastructure and Conservation:

Cumbria as we know is a special place. Its unparalleled beauty and the allure of its cultural heritage have made it a magnet for tourists from across the globe. Yet, the influx of visitors, while bolstering our economy, has precipitated a host of pressing issues that must be addressed in order to preserve the sustainability of our tourism sector and the quality of life for our local inhabitants.

The distressing state of Lake Windermere, which experienced 246 days of sewage pollution in the year 2022, serves as a grim illustration of the environmental challenges we face. This cannot stand. Our beloved lake, along with the dwindling fish populations and the broader ecosystem, is crying out for our help. But the challenges do not end there. Our roads are deteriorating under the constant traffic, litter is accumulating, and local businesses disconnected from tourism are feeling the strain of this tourism boom.

Faced with these realities, we are at a crossroads. Do we continue down the path of piecemeal solutions and escalating council debts, or do we make bold, definitive choices to protect the function and financial health of our region? With councils throughout the UK grappling with debt, Cumbria’s status as an ever-growing tourist hub requires immediate, radical decisions to rectify the issues jeopardising its sustainable operation.

To this end, I propose the implementation of a 5% Community Investment Tip on all overnight stays within Westmorland, Lonsdale, and the wider Cumbria area. This levy is intended to fund the essential repair of our road networks, tackle congestion, finance critical safety upgrades, and supplying frequent public transport to the rural residents who are often elderly and paying upwards of £50+ to visit local towns for their needs. Furthermore, the funds will aid in managing the litter problem and offer support to local businesses impacted by the ebb and flow of tourism.

It is crucial to underscore that while tourism is a cornerstone of our economic strength, it must evolve into a model of longevity and responsibility. The Community Investment Tip represents a commitment to equilibrium, ensuring that the visitors who enjoy the wonders of Cumbria also contribute to its stewardship and long-term viability.

The proposed 5% Community Investment Tip isn’t just another fee—it’s a practical solution to the tangible problems we’re facing in Cumbria. This is about taking concrete action to address the wear and tear on our infrastructure and the environmental issues that come with being a popular tourist destination. By investing now, we’re making sure that Cumbria doesn’t just survive as a tourist spot but thrives as a place to live, work, and visit, with well-maintained roads, a clean environment, and a strong local economy.

I’m asking you to back this initiative because it’s a common-sense approach to ensure our region’s future success. Together, we can implement real-world measures that will keep Cumbria growing, our environment safe, and enhance the day-to-day life for everyone in our community. Let’s roll up our sleeves and make a tangible difference for a tourism industry in Cumbria that works for everyone.