It’s been almost a year of uncertainty for tourism. With COVID having taken any wind out of our collective sails on the coast, there’s a real need for us to prepare and ensure that the coastal resorts and offering we have here on the Connected Coast are ready for returning visitors when, not if, we open up again. Lisa Collins, Place Manager for East Lindsey District Council, explains how:
There’s a lot to be said for resilience in the area and there’s plenty of businesses that have adapted and made the best of what has been an incredibly unsettled time.
It’s times like these that encourage us to look within and play to our collective strengths. The coast has such potential and the Towns Fund will not only bring immediate projects to life, but will also kickstart others. This catalyst effect will no doubt mean investment in other areas that will only strengthen our position and will make the coast even more of a destination.
Many on the coast are simply staying still and doing what they can to survive and that is completely understandable. However, those who are investing internally and improving their offerings are bound to reap the rewards once we are ready to welcome tourists back.
The brief window where businesses were able to open in Skegness, Mablethorpe, Sutton-On-Sea and Chapel St Leonards showed that there is a demand for the visitor economy and for attractions that are closer to home. There has been much coverage in the press in recent times heralding the rise of the ‘staycation’ and that short period of freedom for many illustrated that perfectly here on the coast.
Indeed, reports showed that bookings were up by a third, due to concerns regarding safety and international travel. It is therefore vital to ensure businesses not only survive, but are also prepared for the higher number of visitors likely to start visiting when restrictions are again lifted.
It is also key that we face the future by using what we already have and what is accessible once restrictions are again lifted. The walking and cycling offer in the area is second to none and the close proximity to the Lincolnshire Wolds only underlines this. The countless walks and cycle routes available to not only visitors, but those in the area need to be pushed more than ever. With an emphasis on exercise and wellbeing, perhaps this is also an avenue more will want to explore as things return to normal. There is talk of an epidemic of mental health issues emerging thanks to isolation, lack of socialising and bereavement. Exercise is often seen as complementary to that and what better place to get fresh air and space than the Lincolnshire coast?
Hope, although tough to muster at times, is essential right now. The Connected Coast and the Towns Fund are positioned to help the coast recover. Here’s hoping 2021 will be a bright year for the coast.