Wednesday, December 22, 2010


The Latest Press News from Visit Lincolnshire suggests Lincolnshire County Council is threatening the existence of Visit Lincolnshire, the organisation set up to market our county as a visitor destination. It was formerly known as Lincolnshire Tourism. Visit Lincolnshire works in partnership with VisitBritain, East Midlands Tourism, Lincolnshire County Council, all local district authorities, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire Councils, plus all tourism businesses.

Press Statement – Embargoed until 7am, Wednesday 22 December 2010

In direct opposition to Government policy, Lincolnshire County Council has proposed to withdraw all future funding support for Visit Lincolnshire, which amounts to £268,680 in the current year. This will mean that Visit Lincolnshire is very unlikely to survive beyond March 2011.
Despite having cut operational costs by 46% in the last year, the organisation is still reliant on continuing public sector support following the recent loss of £400,000 funding from the soon to be abolished East Midlands Development Agency. In total this represents a cut of 72% of Visit Lincolnshire’s core cost funding.
Marc Etches, Interim Chief Executive, said: “This is a very disappointing decision that will leave Lincolnshire out in the cold in terms of promoting the County nationally and internationally. With the opportunities that the 2012 Olympic Games represent, and the relatively low profile of Lincolnshire nationally this flys in the face of Government policy. David Cameron wants to see domestic tourism grow in the UK from 36% to 50% of all tourism expenditure and Lincolnshire is well placed to help make that happen but it requires partnership working between industry and the public sector. Unfortunately, Lincolnshire County Council has seemingly decided that it no longer wishes to engage in what has until now been a successful partnership.”
The announcement comes in the week that two tourism guides, Visit Lincolnshire 2011 and Enjoy Skegness and Mablethorpe 2011 are published. However, there appears to be no thought given to how these important visitor guides will be distributed and marketed next year.
Marc Etches said: “Some 270 businesses have spent £125,000 in taking advertisements in these two guides. The question to be asked of the County Council is if it will not fund Visit Lincolnshire to distribute and market these valuable business generators, has it set aside sufficient money to undertake the necessary marketing activity itself, and if not will it refund those businesses?”
Jon Grubb, Chairman of Visit Lincolnshire, said: “I am astounded, baffled and disappointed by the decision to withdraw all of Visit Lincolnshire’s funding. In essence the county council has decided to close the county’s tourism body yet seems to have no plan in place for how they will continue the task of encouraging ever more people to visit this fantastic county. Given the importance of the tourism economy to the county it seems puzzling and somewhat irresponsible to make this decision without any clear idea of what they will do next. Our neighbouring counties have already committed to continuing to fund their tourism bodies - giving them a competitive edge. There are literally thousands of people who rely on tourism for their jobs and future and we’ve seen the devastating effect that cancelling the Christmas Market has had on the economy of the city. To respond to the challenges ahead by closing Visit Lincolnshire seems a huge gamble with the county’s £1 billion tourism industry. Of course those who have made the decision will not be the ones who suffer if the gamble turns out to be a mistake.”
The Board of Directors of Visit Lincolnshire will meet on January 6 to discuss the future of the organisation.

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