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Friday, 28 November 2014

Best of Lakeland Hospitality show

OVER 100 exhibitors promoted their product at the Best of Lakeland Hospitality Show in Bowness this week.
DAVID PICKTHALL reports

THE Love Barrow message was promoted at a flagship event in the Lake District hospitality calendar.

In a luxury gazebo filled with alpacas, pigs and some of Cumbria’s finest businesses and attractions, Barrow town centre and festivals manager Ann Taylforth was at the Best of Lakeland Hospitality Show to sell the town and its surrounding borough as a visitor destination.

The two-day event, which yesterday began at Bowness’ Hydro Hotel, is the single most important event of the year for many local hospitality businesses.

Mrs Taylforth was at the show on behalf of Barrow Borough Council to encourage people in the Lake District hospitality industry to point their guests in the Furness direction – something hotel and guesthouse bosses are now doing much more.

Mrs Taylforth said: “The target market is people in the trade – hotels, guest houses and bed and breakfasts – so they can take leaflets back and hand them to guests and advise them to visit Barrow.

“It’s a very good way to reach out to people and provide information that we couldn’t do in any other way.

“We’re telling them about Zirkus Plus, our carnivals, the Festival of the Sea, the National Kite Surfing Championships and about how we’re celebrating 50 years of building nuclear submarines for the Royal Navy.”

Around 25,000 leaflets marketing Barrow borough have been distributed around Cumbria and North Lancashire.

And in the last eight years, tourism in the borough has grown by 21 per cent – the biggest increase in the county.

Mrs Taylforth said there is huge interest in the borough’s walks, its coast, nature reserves and particular interest for South Lakes Wild Animal Park and the Dock Museum, especially as a wet weather attraction.

Geoffrey Roe, working alongside Mrs Taylforth, said: “We’re managing to get the image of Barrow turned round completely. You ask people if they’ve been to Barrow and they say ‘yes, I love Barrow’. It’s that slogan, it sticks.

“Your guesthouse owners are sending people to Barrow, and five years ago they just weren’t doing that. A lot of visitors come back for the third or fourth time and they’ve already been to central Lakes and they’re starting to think ‘where else can we go?’ and start to look on the edges – and that’s where we come in.”

Windermere Lakes Cruises was represented at the show by Sandra Tonge, company events and reservations manager.

She told how the scheduled opening of the new, relocated Lakeland Motor Museum at Backbarrow on May 20 will complement the cruises and the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway, with a special Transport Trio ticket to be offered to visitors.

Ms Tonge, who revealed the museum is trying to get Jeremy Clarkson to open the motor museum, said: “You’ll be able to get the boat from Bowness to Lakeside and then get a connecting bus to the motor museum. I think there are plans to link the railway to the museum as well.”

Chris Ramwell, barman at the award-winning Hawkshead Brewery, was at the show yesterday because sales manager Anne Gallagher got so many sale leads at the event on Tuesday that she had to follow them up straight away.

Mr Ramwell said: “We’re trying to encourage the beers into the local hotels and guesthouses and show we are local. We’re already placed in Asda and Booths and in quite a lot of pubs in the local area. (At the show) you get so many different, various businesses and get to have a good talk and it gives us the chance to spread our reputation.”

Robin Higgens, Lakeland Spring Water director, launched the company’s new refill and re-use scheme at the show.

Mr Higgens said: “It’s proving really successful, one, because people are now aware of the difficulties with recycling glass and the cost of using glass and, two, people are aware bottled water is expensive. It’s more economic for us to make and easier for the hotels to serve. And it’s water that’s off the fellside at Ennerdale, which is what people want when they’re in the Lakes, something real.”

Althams Catering Butchers, had two 11-week-old pigs in a pen in the gazebo. They will be ready for the chop in August and form Uncle Rich’s Gloucester Old Spot pork sausages.

Althams – whose AQA brand pork, beef, lamb and poultry are all sourced in the North West – supply meat to restaurants such as Michelin Star recipient The Samling, Windermere.

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