‘BARROW has got a really important role to play’ in Cumbria’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, a tourism boss has said.

“Lots of exciting things are happening there now, and it is becoming more tourism orientated,” said Jim Walker, chairman of Cumbria Tourism.

Mr Walker said the organisation would be aiming to ‘attract and disperse’ visitors.

This will involve drawing tourists to the more popular areas of Cumbria, then directing them to areas which are less popular with visitors, such as Barrow.

“It’s a great opportunity for people to explore the beautiful coastline, perhaps go shopping in Barrow and use the super cafés and restaurants and stay in that area,” he said.

“We’re aware there’ll be strong demand in 2021. What we’re encouraging people to do is to try new places within the county.”

Mr Walker was speaking following a meeting between Cumbria Tourism and the county’s five Conservative MPs in which the the tourism sector and its recovery were discussed.

During the meeting, Cumbria Tourism repeated its set of five key requests to government to help the industry bounce back from the pandemic.

These include an extension of the business rates holiday and confirmation that furlough will continue after April.

Barrow MP Simon Fell said: “I’m very supportive of Cumbria Tourism’s ‘asks’.

“Tourism is something we need to grow in our area - we already have a good base, but Cumbria Tourism recognise that there is much more to do to disperse visitors from the Lakes to Furness and support local guesthouses, hospitality and shops.”