Lakes Hopispitality Association is a member led tourism lobby and service provider. The largest part that one would see, apart from their many member’s properties and businesses, is Windermere’s Visitor Information Centre. The Associated took it on after South Lakeland District Council abandoned it and the site is now self funding through enterprise.
As most organisations do, they have an Annual General Meeting as a get together for members and selected guests. I was honoured to be a guest at this year’s event which was held at Low Wood Bay.
After networking and lunch we had presentations from James Berresford the Chief Exec of VisitEngland and James Rebanks an energetic consultant who talk about UNESCO and World Heritage status for the Lake District. World Heritage status is something I remain sceptical of.
Representatives of LHA updated members on several developments and current events:
The most exciting was a very swish online booking agent for their members. They hope to fight back against the big boys who they feel provide a poor service to customers whilst charging high commissions to providers.You can see the site here: visit-thelakedistrict.co.uk
Also discussed was the dangers to the Lake District brand, specifically from the energy coast and the potential repository. In my view most of this actually came from the no campaigners who made sure that the Lake District was tagged to the issue to garner support to thier cause.
Also mentioned was deal sites such as Groupon who they felt were devaluing the tourism sector without providing any additional benefit.
They warned that bed tax on tourism was still looming and sure to come back around.
The British Hospitality Association campaign on VAT in the hospitality industry was noted. It’s something I asked SLDC to support, but libs refused to support my motion regardless of the evidence.
The LHA is a growing group in the South and North Lakes and I look forward to supporting them in the future.