Cameron announces support package as north England reports 60% bookings decrease

The prime minister has announced a package of measures to boost the north of England’s tourism industry and encourage British families to visit the region over the Easter break.

The announcement comes ahead of Cameron’s visit to Cumbria and Lancashire, where he will see how government investment has been helping businesses affected by December’s floods get back on their feet.

The new package will include £2 million of government funding which will be used to fix bridges, rebuild walls and restore footpaths across the iconic Lake District National Park.

Backing of £1 million will help launch a marketing campaign, co-ordinated by VisitEngland, encouraging British families to spend their Easter breaks in the north of England.

The package builds on the government’s £10 million programme to grow tourism in the north, and a new £4 million Holidays at Home are GREAT campaign. Advertising space worth £500,000 has also been made available at Heathrow to promote flood affected areas.

Cameron said: From York Minster to Honister Mine, Carlisle Castle to the Leeds Armouries, the north has some of the most iconic tourist attractions the UK has to offer. So it is absolutely right that we do everything we can to make sure these businesses feel supported and ready to receive visitors.

The measures we’ve announced today are an important step, showcasing the best the region’s tourist industry has to offer while helping one of its key attractions in the Lake District National Park get back on its feet.”

Culture Secretary John Whittingdale said: “We are ensuring that our tourism businesses are given as much support as possible as they recover from the recent floods.

“The message is clear – the region is full of world-class attractions that are very much open for business. This campaign will showcase the many fantastic places that are ready to welcome visitors in the coming weeks and months.”

The funding will also go towards making sure many of these structures are reinforced to ensure they are resilient to flooding in the future.

The government’s support comes after some businesses in affected areas reported a drop in bookings of up to 60%.

Tourism businesses that have been directly impacted by the flooding are eligible for Department of Business, Innovation and Skills’ £6 million flood recovery grant.