CARLISLE Hotels have reported increasing occupancy rates this year as tourists flock to the city for the summer.
Carlisle thrives as a gateway to neighboring tourist hotspots during the busy parts of the year.
Dubbed the ‘City of Lakes’, some see it as a cheaper visitor alternative to hotel stays in the Lake District itself.
As England’s northern gateway to Scotland and with excellent rail links to Newcastle, Manchester Airport and London, Carlisle offers an excellent stopover for permanent residents, workers and holidaymakers onward journeys.
Local hoteliers agree that Carlisle is an affordable option for visitors to the Northwest.
But the city itself is also an attraction. Cumbria Park Hotel General Manager Paul Hicks said: “People come for Carlisle, it’s not just a base, the nightlife is diverse.
“Our utilization is strong now and has been since February; Obviously we have enjoyed the benefit of staycations.
“I think over the years it’s had its ups and downs. It’s enjoying a new life, but I’d say it’s a far cry from the likes of York.
“But people come here for different reasons, if not for Tullie House then for the parks, the castle and the history.
“Carlisle is seen as a cheaper option but Carlisle itself has a lot more to offer in terms of nightlife, certainly with our proximity to Scotland; With the restrictions there we have seen a lot of Scottish customers.
“Throughout the year we’ve scouted different markets to fight the lows, we’re enjoying 90 percent occupancy this month and last year was the same.”
Val Warriner owns Warwick Hall B&B in Carlisle. She said: “We are not a tourist destination, we are not in the Lake District.
“We get people walking Hadrian’s Wall but the bulk of my business comes from nice rich English people walking up and down the M6 who are a few days outside of London and will have nice accommodation to walk their dog to go for a walk and enjoy a good breakfast before leaving for their destination.”
Cumbria Tourism’s Gill Haigh said: “As well as being incredibly well-connected to transport and being a heritage and university city with access to arts, culture, creative activities, retail and attractions, Carlisle should be high on people’s lists as a destination to visit.
“While there have been major advances in visitor value and volume to Carlisle in recent years, there are still many opportunities to increase Carlisle’s appeal as a key visitor center for the county in the future.”
She added, “The development of the university campus into a ‘Cultural Campus for Carlisle’ represents an excellent opportunity to significantly enhance the appeal of Carlisle’s unique historic district.”
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