Event round-up | Lincolnshire: Levelling up through the visitor economy
Our Lincolnshire: Levelling Up through the visitor economy event finally took place on September 27th. After months of planning, and the original date being postponed due to July's heatwave, we did it!
It was the first time that all active Levelling Up Projects, with a visitor economy theme, were presented together, demonstrating growth for tourism.
*Did you attend? We'd love your feedback. We've put together a 4-minute survey to collate your thoughts, so we can make our next event even better.
The day far surpassed our expectations. The room was alive with pride and passion, a sense that we are all working towards the same collective goal - putting Lincolnshire on the map as a top ten visitor economy destination. It was a feeling further bolstered by Professor Cathy Parker with the delivery of her keynote speech. Celebrating Lincolnshire's already exemplary approach to place management, Cathy focussed on how we can go even further to ensure we achieve our goals.
There is so much headroom for growth within Lincolnshire's visitor economy. Tourism in Lincolnshire is so significant. So strategically important to our county and the wider region it is vital that the opinions, plans, and passions that came out of the event are carried through to our approach to place and the pride we all take in it.
A huge thank you to our speakers, Cathy, Ian Thomas, Michelle Sacks, Lydia Rusling, Helen Thompson, Jo Walker, Jon Hinde, Gill Wilson, Alan Gray, and Wendy Osgodby. Thank you also to all of you, our partners, and fellow businesses who joined us. In our experience, we've found events like this to be a rare occurrence. Something we are working to change by actively putting in the time to make sure collaboration and conversations, such as the ones that were being had at the event, are possible. It is so important to us. Why?
Well, our goal is to make sure Lincolnshire’s visitor economy continues to have a voice around the growth table (economically, socially, and environmentally), and we are starting to achieve this in Lincolnshire.
We're looking forward to being part of Lincolnshire’s growth conversation in our role as the county’s DMO (Destination Management Organisation); in the words of Nick de Bois CBE, this is important because: ‘DMOs are found in every region and destination in the world with a developed tourism industry and with good reason.
'Tourism businesses want them because they understand fundamentally that tourism is an ecosystem, and that their own business success is intrinsically linked to the success of the destination as a whole.’
The essence of everything we shared during the event, 100% encapsulated this sentiment.
For us, as a team, there were so many takeaways from the day, the speakers, and the conversations that were had. Starting with:
- Economies of Scale - on projects that will attract a similar type of visitor segmentation. We want to tackle this with visitor profiling and really effective thematic marketing that drives visitor spend.
- Product Development - which will give more reasons to visit Lincolnshire and the East Midlands through cycling, walking, and coastal experiences.
- Productivity- extend the season, and deliver investments in arts and cultural programming which animates and supports the evening economy as well as untapped international markets too.
- Skills and Workforce Pipelines - a chance to develop a closer local fit between industry needs and training, resulting in sector appeal and visibility.
- Business Events - with new collaborations and sectors that are relocating to Lincolnshire thanks to inward investment.
- Place Making – helping co-develop our Lincolnshire story, and making sure that we build in legacy and use Levelling Up Projects as a springboard for growth.
"Destination Lincolnshire's conference showed exactly how collaboration between business and public sector, with the DMO being the glue that binds us all together, is delivering real change and increased opportunities for the visitor economy - an industry that is worth £2.8 billion per year, with massive potential for growth," said Michelle Sacks, panel speaker and Deputy Chief Executive (Growth) at Boston, East Lindsey, and South Holland Councils.
"Cathy Parker SFIPM nailed place-making and how strong local leadership is essential to connect plans, policy, and people. Ian Thomas provided fascinating insight from recently gathered data from our businesses and visitors - can't wait to get my hands on the detail! Lydia Rusling and I were proud to share the platform with colleagues from district councils across Lincolnshire on how we believe working together (that word collaborate again) to link our town deal projects delivers for Greater Lincolnshire."
Ian Thomas, event speaker and Destination Director, NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: "The event as a whole was brilliant, my colleague and I definitely took some lessons back with us about how to run our own events. The Show and Tell portion in particular, with the screen showcasing the Town Deal projects while the council leads engaged in their panel discussion worked really well.
"There was a great amount of interaction throughout the day, which continued into the afternoon workshop. More people than we anticipated stayed, which I put down to what they'd heard during the morning. There were some incredibly interesting discussions around the tables, really different to the other workshops we've previously held across the county. The hardest part was to get people to stop talking - there is a lot of pride in the business community across the county and that really came across.
"The research project as a whole is about 75% complete, it's giving us a really good understanding of the opportunities and challenges that can be accessed across the county. What this piece of work will help us do is add that external perspective, and provide these passionate businesses with a visitor's point of view to help us make improvements to the visitor experience. The energy and drive in that room to make Lincolnshire a better pace was incredible, I know it can be done."
Lydia Rusling, Assistant Director of Economic Growth at South & East Lincolnshire Councils Partnership, said: "Do not underestimate the power of partnership and people. The event was an excellent example of how genuine collaboration and a lot of hard work and determination can support a place-based focus on sustainable growth for the benefit of businesses and communities. Incredibly proud and honoured to have been part of the panel discussion to showcase what growth plans we have across our sub-region but also how we work across boundaries with colleagues in local government and organisations across the Midlands and nationally."
Laura Dunne, Head of Marketing and Membership at Lincolnshire Co-op, said: "A brilliant event showcasing what we have to offer local people, as well as visitors to our county. Bringing together all sectors to make this happen, and acknowledging that working in this way is the key to success in the future. Exciting and inspiring - well-done Destination Lincolnshire and everyone involved."