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Businesses urged to back Boston

An appeal has been made for businesses to back a new initiative to reach the thousands who arrive in Boston by coach.

Boston Borough Council wants to hear from businesses it can market for free in a new brochure promoting the town's unique and individual shopping attractions alongside heritage reasons for lingering longer.

Businesses which can offer a ten per cent discount to customers will feature in the brochure to be handed to the thousands who arrive in town by coach. These numbers swell during the summer when holidaymakers from the Midlands and the North arrive in Boston from Skegness and the east coast resorts.

The aim now is to convert these traditional short-stay visitors, who come mainly to sample the delights of the weekly markets, into longer-stay shoppers, enticed by discounts and the added extras of the town's heritage that they may not be aware of.

In a two-pronged approach coach companies are to receive a separate information leaflet advising of Boston's additional benefits, such as its most iconic heritage sites - so they plan to stay for longer, helping to increase spending within the town.

Gail Graham, Boston Borough Council's Heritage Development Officer is currently working with key economic partners such as the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce and Boston's Visitor Economy Partnership to also produce a passenger brochure highlighting the heritage of the town. This first pilot publication will focus on the key sites within walking distance from the town centre (including St Botolph's Church, the Guildhall and Fydell House) aiming to build awareness that Boston has plenty to offer visitors for a stay of longer than the "usual" two to three hours that many current coach tour operators offer.

"Once passengers and coach companies become aware that Boston doesn't just offer wonderful shopping opportunities, but so much more within the town and surrounding areas, then they will start to plan longer stays within the town, increasing footfall and spend," said Gail.

A key aim Gail is hoping to achieve is to encourage local businesses to support this initiative by offering a discount to passengers which can be included within the brochure.

"It would be brilliant if businesses recognised the potential of the scheme and how much more it could contribute in the long term to their business and the economic vitality of the town," Gail said, "I'm looking for some businesses to come forward - particularly local cafes and independent retailers who would benefit from increased tourism footfall to offer a discount of ten per cent as part of this initial scheme to test how successful this idea is."

One business which recognises the importance of offering an additional incentive to coach companies is Boston's oldest department store (and probably one of the country's oldest; established 1804), Oldrids. Madeleine Roux-Thompson, store manager, explained the company's decision to become part of this initial trial; "Oldrids has long recognised the importance of Boston's heritage as being an additional draw to attract more people to the town along with our existing wonderful retail opportunities. The business is happy to support this initial trial scheme and offer free refreshments to coach drivers and encourage them to stay longer. In this way, Oldrids can help promote Boston to a wider audience which ultimately will benefit all businesses in the town centre. I hope other businesses will recognise the potential this leaflet has and I would encourage them to join the trial scheme along with Oldrids and support the initiative."

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