West Lindsey Visitor Economy Strategy

Visitor Economy Strategy ConsultantsClient: West Lindsey District Council
Planning Solutions Consulting were commissioned to work on a visitor economy consultancy project to support West Lindsey District Council in carrying out a review and revision of their draft visitor economy strategy and prepare an updated visitor economy strategy for the district.

West Lindsey is not a traditional tourist area, it is overshadowed by better known neighbouring destinations, particularly the coast to the east and city of Lincoln to the west. However, the tourism sector is growing and is important to the district. In the process of the recovery from COVID-19, there is a real opportunity for West Lindsey to position itself as a safe, accessible destination with a strong focus on distinctiveness, sustainability, social wellbeing, health and outdoor based activities. The area is an attractive, peaceful rural area which combines an outstanding natural environment with historic villages in close proximity to the city of Lincoln. Within its administrative boundary lies part of the Lincolnshire Wolds, the market towns of Gainsborough (with its impressive Old Hall) and Market Rasen and a wide variety of historic villages and heritage buildings including many characteristic churches.

The research and consultation exercise carried out with local stakeholders confirms that tourism matters to the district; it is a growing sector which makes an important contribution to West Lindsey’s overall economic growth (£143 million in 2019). The consultations were carried out through one-to-one discussions with WLDC officers and key partners including the county council, East Lindsey District Council, Lincolnshire Wolds AONB, Visit Lincoln and Greater Lincolnshire. Virtual workshops were also held online to discuss the action plan with key stakeholder groups such as tourism businesses including key attraction and accommodation representatives.

There was a strong consensus from these consultations to focus the strategy on a diverse portfolio comprising the district’s heritage offer, as well as niche market towns and village attractions and the environment and landscape. In particular, there was feedback on continuing to focus on lead brands/attractions such as Gainsborough Old Hall and the area’s aviation heritage. Further recommendations which could form a core part of the tourism offer going forward include renowned heritage attractions nearby such as Lincoln Castle as well as established walking and cycling routes such as Wolds Walks and The Lindsey Trail. Complementing this could also be a growing events and culture programme, using venues such as the Lincolnshire Showground.

The findings from the research were compiled into a visitor economy action plan with a suite of detailed interventions and initiatives which respond to the vision to create a community-led destination that develops, refines and presents an authentic responsible tourism product with a focus on sustainability and community benefits.   Importantly, the action plan and visitor economy strategy will be kept under review and will continue to be updated as the funding landscape and market conditions change. The action plan and visitor economy strategy will be incorporated into the business planning and the Corporate Plan at West Lindsey District Council. The Leisure, Culture, Events and Tourism Members Subgroup will oversee the implementation of the action plan. The visitor economy strategy will also be utilised by a range of partners and stakeholders including local businesses/sectors, business networks, educators, skills service providers, tourism organisations, Visit Lincoln DMO and neighbouring local authorities.

How can we help?
If you have any questions or would like to discuss our work within the sustainable tourism and visitor economy sectors please don’t hesitate to call Richard Linington on 07866 742628 or email richard@pslplan.co.uk