Our tourist sites could get a boost

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TOURIST attractions in South Holland may be able to put the tough times behind them if a new group is formed to promote the area to visitors.

Following the demise of the Visit Lincolnshire website this time last year, it is hoped that a new Destination Management Organisation (DMO) could be born focusing on what’s on offer in south Lincolnshire, the Fens and The Wash.

A meeting is expected in January when the first steps could be taken to set the group up. It is hoped it will be a positive step towards putting the area firmly on the map as a tourist location, promoting the area’s natural beauty and heritage.

Tourism generated just under £70 million in South Holland last year, and its status as one of the country’s premier food producing areas could also see it promoted for “foodie trails”.

David Norton, who champions tourism on behalf of Spalding and district area Chamber of Commerce, said: “It has been a tough time for tourism because of the economic climate.

“You only have to look at the recent announcement that Long Sutton Butterfly and Wildlife Park is to close at the end of next season as a barometer of those difficulties.

“That is indicative that it has been difficult for tourism, but it means the future can’t get any worse and can only get better.”

Mr Norton says it is now important that potential opportunities to promote the district for tourism are maximised and hopes a new DMO could be a move in the right direction.

He said: “Next year is the London Olympics, which on the face of it might not be a big winner for the district.

“But maybe we can promote this area as the ideal place for those looking to make a Great Escape from the Olympics and find some peace and quiet,

“It is a potential opportunity and it’s a case of identifying these opportunities. We have a number of things which we can offer people, including the flower parade and our food industry, and we just need to shout about it and let everybody know, particularly if people continue to look closer to home for holidays in the current financial climate.”