Anchors aweigh as Windermere woos international tourists

Windermere Lake Cruises staff are setting sail for a series of international trade missions and travel trade events to fly the flag for the Lake District.

The lake cruise operator claims to be Cumbria’s most popular tourist attraction and is launching major push to attract new international visitors to the Lake District in 2017.

There are currently 1.5 million passenger journeys on Windermere Lake Cruises each year, with around one fifth of these visitors coming from outside the UK.

In the past 12 months, visitors from a record 39 countries have booked tickets through the company’s website – a 17% year-on-year increase – as the popularity of a ‘steamer’ cruise in the English Lake District continues to grow.

The latest international sales drives starts at the end of September, with visits to overseas tour operators based in London.

Key staff members will also fly to Japan, alongside five other tourism businesses later this month, as part of the Lake District Japan Forum’s 10-day mission to Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo.

A separate trade mission to China and Korea is planned for November, with VisitBritain and a group of other local businesses for a round of office visits, meetings and presentations.

It follows VisitBritain’s successful ‘Destination China’ event last year, which saw participants meet more than 60 buyers from some of China’s largest and most influential companies.

Windermere Lake Cruises will also be playing a key role in the Lake District China Forum’s plans to bring top Chinese executives to England’s largest National Park this autumn, to experience the regional attractions, hotels and dining.

The firm will also exhibit at World Travel Market London (November 7-9) to meet short-haul and long-haul tour operators, as part of a major Lake District presence at the leading global event for the travel industry.

Jennifer Cormack is sales and marketing manager for Windermere Lake Cruises and chairman of The Lake District China Forum.

She said: “It is vital that we continue building relationships with overseas tour operators, buyers and high-profile influencers to strengthen our existing international partnerships and develop business in emerging overseas markets.

“Crucially, we are working with an extensive network of other Cumbrian tourism businesses to ensure we are promoting not just Windermere Lake Cruises, but helping to drive the future growth of the tourism sector in the Lakes and Cumbria as a whole.”

Picture caption: Welcoming Chinese visitors to Windermere. Credit: Gordon Shoosmith.