Visitor economy is key to boosting economic growth and quality of life

Photograph of Sally Grindrod-Smith, Councillor Owen Bierley and Wendy Osgodby at the Lincolnshire Show in 2022
Sally Grindrod-Smith, Councillor Owen Bierley and Wendy Osgodby at the Lincolnshire Show

West Lindsey District Council has launched a new Visitor Economy Strategy and Action Plan which outlines its ongoing commitment to the sector.

The plan which was approved at the Council’s Prosperous Communities Committee this month aims to drive West Lindsey forward as a visitor destination, with the support of key stakeholders.

Chairman of the Prosperous Communities Committee Councillor Owen Bierley, attended this year’s Lincolnshire Show, which attracted thousands of visitors to West Lindsey, home of the show, welcomed the strategy. He said:

“We recognise that visitors have the potential to provide a significant boost to the local economy, diversifying the range of businesses available to residents and providing much-needed jobs.

“However, it needs to be done in a ‘sustainable manner’ in order to contribute to the quality of life, economy, employment and local community development, to create an authentic and responsible product.

“This strategy and action plan are a great opportunity for the Council to focus on all the amazing things the district has to offer. This includes a broad heritage offer, a range of attractions and activities as well as a strong food, hospitality and retail sector.

“The tourism sector will strive to balance in a sustainable way any growth opportunities with the continued enjoyment of the district’s rural, quiet spaciousness that is at the heart of our area’s appeal.

“Working with key stakeholders, we want to attract more visitors and encourage people who are already visiting to stay longer, explore further and spend more during their stay.”

Figures show that visitors to the district have continually grown year on year and we aim to build on this with its place-based marketing approach.

We will promote its core destination through the following assets: Discover Gainsborough, Love Lincolnshire Wolds and Visit Lincoln. The area will have an enhanced reputation with and support from our neighbouring destinations - both city and coast - who appreciate and benefit from its complementary offer.

Wendy Osgodby, Economic Growth Team Leader at West Lindsey District Council explained the visitor economy makes an important contribution to West Lindsey’s overall economic growth.  She said:

“We recognise the potential for visitors to develop a strong affinity with a place, forging a place-based self-identity which can be instrumental in their choosing of a location to live and to raise a family.  

“This supports the Council’s core objective of housing-led economic growth, which will be achieved by expanding the amount of housing and creating a place that is attractive to new residents and can retain old residents alike. We want all our visitors to receive a genuine welcome and enjoy outstanding experiences of our countryside and heritage.”

The Visitor Economy Strategy and Action Plan highlights three opportunity areas, which offer potential to broaden and enhance the tourism product in the district:

The Thriving Gainsborough 2024 initiative including the £17.57m Levelling-Up funding support provides opportunities to enhance the appeal of Gainsborough as a visitor destination building on the retail offer (Marshall’s Yard) and the 500-year-old Gainsborough Old Hall.   

 The Lincolnshire Showground is an important asset, attracting large numbers of visitors at certain times of the year. The design and development of a new master plan for the site needs to ensure that the tourism opportunities are maximised including provision of visitor accommodation, enhanced conference facilities and augmenting the range of events and services leading to increased overnight stays in the area.  

 The decommissioning of RAF Scampton in 2022 provides an opportunity to enhance the aviation product. Future plans need to protect, promote and enhance the heritage assets in recognition of the important role RAF Scampton has played both in terms of military and social history.

Planning Solutions Consulting were appointed by the Local Government Association to support in developing the strategy with us. To read the full strategy visit our Visitor Economy Strategy webpage.

For the latest news on West Lindsey District Council visit our council news pages

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