Sunday, 15 November 2015


Puffin - charismatic species which helps boosts tourism on some parts of the British coast (Photo: C.G.P Grey via Wikimedia Commons)
THE POTENTIAL of nature and wildlife to boost a county’s  tourist economy came under the spotlight at a conference organised by the Greater Lincolnshire Nature Partnership. 

Keynote speaker Simon Woodward, of Leeds-Beckett University,  emphasised the importance of having one or more “charismatic” species to bring in visitors who will spend money at businesses such as  pubs, restaurants and accommodation providers.

Scotland, for instance, has the likes of both golden and sea eagles, plus capercaillies, crested tits and more.

Tourism groups in Yorkshire, Northumberland  and Wales market their seabird colonies which include the likes of puffins, gannets and terns. 

Simon Woodward - how about a sealfest?
 Dr Woodward went on to suggest that a November "sealfest" ought to be organised as a commercial spin-off from the breeding colony of seals at Donna Nook.

"Having a charismatic species can be a big help to marketing and promoting an area,"he said.

"There are lots of folk songs connected with seals - and, where there is folk singing, there are real ale drinkers.

"Perhaps some micro-brewery could come up with a seal-themed beer."

Dr Woodward referred to the commercial success of  Bempton Cliffs since the RSPB built a visitor centre.

Hesitating about his use of terminology, he continued: "Nature  can be exploited, packaged and commoditised."

Another of Dr Woodward's suggestions - which attracted less interest from delegates  - was that "fungus forays" could be organised for the benefit of the area's East European immigrants on the grounds that  they enjoy foraging for mushrooms.

He also graded  wildlife watchers as follows: 1) serious 2) casual 3) passing interest and 4) no interest. The trick. he felt, was to seek to nudge upwards   those in the lower three categories - perhaps one rung at a time.

Another speaker was the director of Butlin's Skegness, Chris Baron. He described Gibraltar Point as “a hidden gem” and  emphasised the importance of tourism to greater Lincolnshire, attracting, he claimed, 31 million visitors  a year, generating  £1.9-billion and thereby supporting hundreds of jobs.
Chris Baron - we have to work together
"Contrary to what some people believe, tourism is a proper business not a Cinderella industry," he declared . "But we can't work in silos - we all have to work together."

The conference also heard from  former Leicestershire police inspector Rob Folwell  who, along with wife Jeanette has made a big success of Greetham Retreat Holidays - their holiday cottage and caravan business near Horncastle.

Mr Folwell  described how they converted a pest-infested barn in a neglected crew yard into four-star holiday accommodation, focusing on guests who particularly appreciate nature.
Rob Folwell - success with kestrels
 Among the site's attractions are a dragonfly-friendly wildlife pond and a wildflower meadow over which barn owls are regularly seen at dusk as they hunt for voles and shrews.

One of the 30 or so on-site nest boxes has even attracted a pair of kestrels.

Although pleased with the 77 per cent occupation rate for the cottages, Mr Folwell felt the figure could be higher if marketing and tourism in the county were not so "fragmented".

He expressed disappointment at the quality of the county council's Visit Lincolnshire website and said the Wolds missed out on two other similar sites - one chiefly promoting Lincoln and the other marketing  the coastal strip between Mablethorpe and Skegness.

"We're the bit in the middle," he declared. "Nationally, the Wolds is not well known.

"If all the county's publicity and marketing resources were brought together, we could all benefit each other."

About 100 delegates attended the conference held on Thursday November 12 at Louth’s Brackenborough Arms Hotel.

Conference organiser Fran Smith, of the Greater Lincolnshire Nature Partnership, outlined ways in which her organisation could be of benefit - for instance, in providing training - but she also noted the importance of maintaining "balance" to ensure the wellbeing of nature was not compromised  by increased visitors.
Fran Smith - importance of balance
This point was underlined towards the end of the event when a delegate, Chris Gordon, of Natural England, issued a reminder that certain wildfowl and other species were "sensitive" to disturbance.

"Visitors need to be steered,"he insisted.
Birds of a feather - delegates at the Greater Lincolnshire Nature Partnership conference which was held at Louth's Brackenborough Arms Hotel
* All photographs courtesy of Greater Lincolnshire Nature Partnership



Below  is the delegates list for the conference though not all attended

Mike & Rebecca Agate: Claythorpe Water Mill

Katy Anderson: Country Land & Business Association

Deborah Anemaet: Kirkstead Old Cottage B&B

Pat Armstrong: Nettleton Valley Project

John Badley: RSPB

Andy Bailey: Environment Agency

Sarah Baker: GLNP

Bob Ballerini: Upper Witham Internal Drainage Board

Cllr Gill Bardsley: West Lindsey District Council

Charlie Barnes: GLNP

Chris Baron: Butlins/ Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership

Judy Bell: Lincolnshire County Council

Les Binns: Photographer

Julian Boden: Welland & Deepings Internal Drainage Board

Sharron Bosley: The Wash & North Norfolk Coast EMS

Amy Bouic: GLNP

Lynda Bowen: Low Moor Farm Ltd

Bryan Bowles: Witham Internal Drainage Board

Cllr Tony Bridges:  Lincolnshire County Council

Vicki Bush: LincolnshireWildlife Trust

Andrew Cawthorpe: Prince’s Trust

Richard Chadd: Chairman

Darren Clarke: Humber Nature Partnership

Lisa Collins: East Lindsey District Council

Stephanie Dale: Caistor Arts & Heritage Centre

Matthew Davey: Lincolnshire County Council

Kate Dent: Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership

Jim Dodsworth: Lindsey Marsh Drainage Board

Alison Eades: Groundwork

Karen Edwards: East Lindsey District Council

Robert Enderby: Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust

Diane Fairchild Fenton: South Holland District Council

Ian Farmer: Boston Borough Council

Annette Faulkner: Lincolnshire Bat Group

Liz Fleuty: Canal and River Trust

Rob & Jeanette Folwell: Greetham Retreat Holidays

Karen Froggatt: East Lindsey District Council

Helen Gamble: Lincolnshire Wolds Countryside Service

ChrisGordon: Natural England

Wally Grice: Forestry Commission

Chris Halloran: Low Moor Farm Ltd

Matthew Harrison; Lincolnshire County Council

Carl Hawke: National Trust

Brian Hedley: Lincolnshire Naturalists’ Union

David Hickman: Lincolnshire County Council

Barbara Hodgkinson: Kirkstead Old Mill Cottage B&B

Heather Hunter: National Trust

David Hutchinson: Environment Agency

Sam Ireland: Witham Third Internal Drainage Board

Steve Jack: Lincolnshire Wolds Countryside Service

Sarah Lamballe: Bricktree Gallery

Paul Learoyd: Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust

John Leney: West Lindsey District Council

Ian Lings: CPRE, Lincolnshire

Peter Lundgren: Chairman, ADA Environment Committee

Ian Macalpine-Leny: Lincolnshire Naturalists’ Union

Alison Macdonald: East Lindsey District Council

Cllr Jill Makinon-Sanders: East Lindsey District Council/ Louth Town Council

Chris Manning: Lindsey Marsh Drainage Board

Sue Marshall: North East Lincolnshire Council

Fiona McKenna: Lincolnshire Rivers Trust

Samantha Mellows: Gainsborough Town Manager

Cllr Mrs Pat Mewis: Tourism Group, West Lindsey District Council/ B&B owner

Daisa Morgan: Daisa & Co

Debbie Nicholls: South Kesteven District Council

David Norton: Sprinfields Horticultural Society Ltd

Kathy Owen: Groundwork

Cllr Chris Pain: Lincolnshire County Council

Kate Percival: Lincolnshire County Council

Shalon Perkins: North Lincolnshire Council

Helen Pitman: Caistor Town Council

Phil Porter: Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust

Sally Porter: North Kesteven District Council

Margaret Price: North Lincolnshire Council

Nicola Radford: Lincolnshire County Council

Lorna Reeve: Discover North East Lincolnshire

Nicola Robinson, White Swan Hotel

Lydia Rusling: Lincolnshire County Council

Tim Sands: Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust

Neil Sharpley: Louth Chamber of Business

Rachel Shaw: Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust

Terence Slater: Quality Hotel Apartments

Mike Sleight: North East Lincolnshire Council

Carol Slingsby; West Lindsey District Council

Jade Smith: Daisa & Co

Fran Smith: GLNP

Caroline Steel: Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust

Mrs J. Stubbs: Woodthorpe Hall

Delphine Suty: Natural England

Marion Thomas: West Lindsey District Council

Peter Udy: Boston Borough Council

Kate Waalker: Cofely GDF Suez

Ian Warsap: Internal Drainage Board

Jon Watson: Geodiversity Group

Nicholas watts:  Welland & Deepings Internal Drainage Board/ vice-chairman ADA Environment Committee

Imogen Wilde: Canal and River Trust

Gill Wilson: City of Lincoln Council

Simon Woodward: Leeds-Beckett University

James Wright: Journalist
PRIOR to the conference, the GLNP issued a press release which stated:  

New figures have revealed that nature tourism is worth £58million a year to the economy of Greater Lincolnshire.

This headline figure comes from research commissioned by the Greater Lincolnshire Nature Partnership  to place a value on the contribution made by nature tourism to the overall visitor economy of Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire and to look at barriers and opportunities for developing this as an integral part of Greater Lincolnshire's tourism sector.

The report's findings were announced at the GLNP's fourth annual conference entitled 'The value of nature tourism' held at The Brackenborough Hotel near Louth on 12 November.

The keynote was given by the report's author Dr Simon Woodward from Leeds Beckett University who undertook the research.

Dr Woodward said: "Our research suggests that nature tourism in Greater Lincolnshire already generates around £58 million for the economy every year, supporting more than 850 jobs. It is important, therefore, that we make the most of the opportunities that exist to get visitors to think a little bit more about the landscapes they are enjoying and the wildlife that lives here.

"The more we do that, the more opportunities there are for developing tourism products and services that both enhance visitor satisfaction but also create jobs for local people."

Around 100 delegates attended the event comprising representatives from across the conservation and tourism sectors including representatives from all of Greater Lincolnshire's local authorities and a large number of private businesses.

The welcome was from Chris Baron Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership  representative for the tourism economy and Resort Director at Butlins.

Two examples of how nature can be incorporated into successful tourism ventures were also heard, from a small business perspective by Jeanette and Rob Folwell of Greetham Retreat Holidays and by Kate Dent demonstrating the landscape approach in the Nene Valley for Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership.

GLNP chairman Richard Chadd said: "We are delighted that our conference on nature tourism has attracted such a wide range of delegates, interested in hearing not only the findings of the research we commissioned but also the potential for growing the economic impact of nature tourism in the future.

"Anecdotal evidence meant that many of us working in both the conservation and the tourism sectors knew that nature tourism was an important segment of the visitor economy but this research was crucial in actually placing a current value on that.

"The landscape and ecology of Greater Lincolnshire is a key part of its attraction and we now have the evidence to demonstrate the contribution it makes. We believe that nature tourism can be the catalyst that helps to turn day trips into overnight stays or bring people to the area in the quieter months increasing the value of tourism overall."

 More details about the GLNP can be found at:

No comments:

Post a Comment