Our special panel of experts look at how things will hopefully improve in the upcoming year.
When restrictions ease, there is the potential to grow domestic tourism, with the chance to extend the season and increase the value of tourism all-year-round. We hope that the development of new offerings like walking and cycling packages, along with new and inspiring itineraries emphasising open spaces and personal wellbeing will also contribute to the recovery across all parts of the county.
I am looking forward to being able to work without masks and imposing so many restrictions on staff and customers.
I’m just hoping that we can get back to some sort of normality and that the vaccine roll-out is successful. I’m looking forward to seeing family and friends and doing things that we’ve all maybe taken for granted in the past.
A return to some form of normality for businesses. The combination of the vaccination programme kicking-in and clarity on the new relationship with the EU should provide our businesses with far greater certainty. I’m also looking forward to delivering “Restart, Reboot, Rethink”, which focuses on the greatest opportunities to support Cumbria’s economic recovery.
We’ve seen great mutual support among businesses. Thanks to their determined spirit, collaboration and innovation, so many tourism-related operators have come up with new ways of generating income by creating new products and adapting their services. This incredible resilience and creative thinking is something I know will be carried through to 2021.
We introduced 1863 By Day due to restrictions on numbers in the restaurant at night and we also had a great response to 1863 At Home during the full lockdown in November so we are also looking at how we can make this a more permanent thing for the future.
A big thing that I learned is that if we can get through all the challenges that last year threw at us, we can get through anything. We certainly realised the importance of keeping communication with each other going and taking the time to talk to and support each other.
The willingness of the business community to do whatever was needed to keep trading and to do this in a way that was COVID secure was a lesson to us all. An important reminder of why business matters – it creates the wealth and employment on which society functions.
The industry is grateful to the Government for the support it has provided so far, but a sector specific package is really needed. Otherwise more businesses will fail and jobs will go. We need a speedy commitment and route to help these businesses shoulder the current restrictions and to enable them survive long enough to bounce back in 2021.
I believe the single biggest thing for hospitality would be to extend the reduction on VAT for at least 2021. I see it as better than grants and hand outs as it will encourage businesses to get open and trade once allowed.
The thing that I think would benefit a lot of people would be better access to broadband. More people are going to be working from home and it needs to be easier for people to do things like home banking online. It needs to be a decent internet connection and needs to be affordable.
The most helpful thing that government can do is support the rethink priorities, seeing Cumbria as a serious contender for new clean energy generation schemes; supporting our ambitions for the Future of Food; and helping us to take forward the new Visitor Experience.
I look forward to discovering many more walks, experiences and places to eat and drink. I really enjoyed shopping local this Christmas and feel strongly that supporting local is a simple thing we can all do to protect jobs and our many independent businesses.
Personally I love scuba diving, so I can’t wait to get away on holiday with my family and relax whilst taking in a few dives.
Like a lot of people, I’m looking to get fitter and healthier. The past year has shown us how important your health is, and it’s all interlinked - it impacts your mental well-being, which is the key to everything we do.
Very simple – to see far more of my family and friends. I’m really looking forward to catching up with everybody that I couldn’t see in 2020, starting with my son, who I was hoping to see at Christmas until the advice changed and he entered Tier 4 restrictions in London.