Let's turn the daytrippers into real holidaymakers
Following the announcement of a £12 million scheme to make Lincoln Cathedral more enticing to visitors, Emma Tatlow, of Visit Lincoln, takes a look at how the project could affect tourism in the city
For nearly three years, the Visit Lincoln Partnership has been working to put Lincoln firmly on the map.
Those of us who know Lincoln know of its immense historical importance, its vibrant waterfront, independent retail offerings and, of course, the masterpiece that is Lincoln Cathedral.
And it is great to see that year on year visitor numbers coming to the city are rising. But there is still much room for improvement. So many people don't know about Lincoln, where it is and what it has to offer.
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So, it is vital that we as a city continue to raise our game. That's through better promotion and marketing of the city, developments to our road and rail infrastructure and improving the product.
We've got the significant developments at Lincoln Castle to look forward to – and we are already benefiting from the new facilities that the DoubleTree by Hilton on the Brayford and the Premier Inn bring to the city.
But there is room to improve further still. Lincoln Cathedral is arguably the finest Gothic building in Europe – and we will have all enjoyed that moment when friends or family visiting Lincoln for the first time appreciate the size, scale and magnificent beauty of this building that sits proudly at the top of the city.
The cathedral can be enjoyed in so many ways. First and foremost, it is a place of worship but when it was illuminated in colourful floral displays at the Flower Festival, enjoyed by many thousands of people, there was reason again to be in awe.
And when the choristers appeared on the roof in the recently produced Lincoln lip-dub film and the Lincoln long wool sheep roamed around the nave for the celebration of food and farming, it is clear that the cathedral is more than just a place of worship. It was something that everyone can enjoy again and again.
But historic buildings still need to move with the times and that is what the cathedral is looking to do with the Cathedral Connected investment.
We want every visitor to Lincoln to step inside the cathedral and to have an amazing experience that meets and exceeds their expectations.
A visit to the cathedral has to be memorable, inspiring and interesting; visitors have to be given a reason to return for future visits and they must go away and tell their network of friends about their experience, spreading the word about the cathedral and about Lincoln.
The exciting, ambitious and visionary plans for Lincoln Cathedral Connected will enable it to further enhance its visitor experience.
This will add to its already valuable visitor offer, responding to the needs of visitors – providing digital information and interpretation, excellent catering facilities, guides, exhibitions, events and displays. The project will bring all of this and more to the cathedral.
As a result, it is anticipated that visitor numbers to the cathedral will increase. Visit Lincoln already works closely with Lincoln Cathedral and will continue to do so as this project develops.
We need to ensure visitors to Lincoln plan time to see the cathedral as part of their visit, and that visitors to the cathedral explore the rest of the city. Lincoln is fast becoming a city with too much to see in one day.
For many years, the city has been considered a short half-day visit but it is now so much more than that. Visitors will come, explore the newly refurbished castle, visit the cathedral and shop, eat and enjoy leisure time around the city.
They are staying over, spending money and supporting the economy.
Lincoln Cathedral Connected is another vital piece of the jigsaw that is enabling us, together, to get Lincoln on the map. As a place to visit, a place to bring business and events, a place to invest and, for us more local folk, a great place to live and work.