Sharing a bed (and breakfast)
Family business is not only a global phenomenon but on a local level plays a huge part in our Cumbrian economy. The model is particularly prominent in tourism and hospitality.
There are more than 7,000 tourism and hospitality businesses in the county and I think I can be so bold as to say that the majority of these are family-run. This vitally important sector contributes around £2.9 billion each year and supports over 37,000 full time equivalent jobs in the county and inevitably helps establish Cumbria and the Lake District as a world-class destination to visitors from near and far.
Why are there so many family-run establishments in Cumbria? In many cases, the family business was developed for the purpose of facilitating personal and family goals or cultivating their ‘passion’, which is a word I hear so much when out and about meeting different family businesses.
Cumbria itself is a wonderful place, so where better to start ‘living the dream’? Running a bed and breakfast establishment is an ideal way to mix family and work. Lifestyle, location and autonomy are all likely
motives as many families choose to set-up in Cumbria as a way of balancing life and work.
Make no mistake however, there are plenty of profit and growth-oriented entrepreneurs also found within this sector, often diversifying into other areas of hospitality and tourism, linking with other strategic partners within the sector and strengthening their offering and maximising our economy.
Meanwhile in more rural areas, farming families are increasingly turning to tourism to generate additional income. Their goals may be different – inevitably they wish to remain in the area and retain both the family property and their multi-generational business. This in turn supports their longer term aim of ensuring the family and its name remain intact in the place they call home, for many years to come.
Whatever the motivations for families to set up a tourism business in the region, they have proved themselves to be adept at it. Cumbria is now famed for its quality establishments, both old and new and this vibrant sector shows no signs of slowing with regional and national ward-winners, cementing Cumbria and the Lakes as a jewel in the UK’s crown.