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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 January 2006, 20:46 GMT
Flood city's festive tourism boom
Rescuers evacuating a man
Scores of businesses were hit during the floods
Tourism bosses in flood-hit Carlisle are hoping to build on a record number of visitors to the city over the Christmas period.

Figures show that over the festive period some 2.2 million people visited the city - up 5.9% on the 2004 figure.

Carlisle has struggled to cope with the devastating floods of January 2005, which claimed three lives and left hundreds of properties damaged.

On Friday a tourism "summit" was being held to build on the festive success.

Figures released by Carlisle City Council show that on 22 December 2005, the city's Lanes Shopping Centre, attracted a record 65,000 visitors.

'Aspirational ideas'

The nearby Sands leisure centre had 61,400 visitors in December - a 13% increase on the previous year.

On Friday more than 40 guests representing theatre, music, tourism and regeneration are attending a Carlisle Renaissance Tourism Summit.

Among the speakers will be representatives from Cumbria Tourist Board, English Heritage and Cumbria Institute of the Arts.

In 2004, tourism brought in 109m to Carlisle's local economy.

Mike Mitchelson, leader of Carlisle City Council, said: "This summit is the first of its kind for Carlisle and marks the importance of the tourist industry to the city's economy and its long term future.

"Representatives from different aspects of the industry have a great opportunity to set out aspirational ideas and thoughts so we can maximise the potential of Carlisle as major destination for leisure and business tourism.

"We will be able to further develop a high quality tourism infrastructure and a range of cultural and leisure activities that build on the city's unique heritage, environmental qualities and geographical location."

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