Claire's on a mission to boost tourism
Tourism is enjoying a boom time across Lincolnshire, and Boston is taking advantage with representation on the visitor economy board.
Cllr Claire Rylott, passionate about promoting Boston as a visitor destination, has been awarded a seat and said: "Now we have a voice and I am determined to make it heard. Boston has such a lot to offer visitors from home and abroad. It will be my mission to sell the area and encourage visitors to linger longer to help boost the visitor economy."
The board, part of the Greater Lincolnshire Enterprise Partnership, aims to shape and influence the delivery of a coordinated approach to the visitor economy, to meet the needs of businesses in Greater Lincolnshire.
Cllr Rylott is Lincolnshire born and bred and "proud of it". She moved to Boston in 1986 when she married, and worked in and around Boston for approximately 25 years before becoming a farmer, working with her husband.
She takes care of the office work, but also, being hands on, gets involved in whatever needs doing. "Being a farmer's daughter helps," she said.
She became a Boston Borough Councillor in May, 2015, and is the Cabinet member with responsibility for grounds, open spaces and tourism.
"After a year of listening and learning I began to realise tourism in Boston needed a serious boost. We decided to create a new website www.visitbostonuk.com
This website not only sells our town as a tourist destination, but it also has an events section which anyone can use to publicise their event The website is hosted by the borough, but it is community owned.
"After creation of the website we created a group called Boston Inspired so that volunteering groups would be aware of this new website and use the events section.
"I have recently set up Women in Business lunches in the town, meeting bi-monthly and 29 attended the last one."
New figures have shown that the value of Lincolnshire's tourism industry has risen by more than £300 million over the last five years, reaching £1.37 billion in 2016.
The latest figures show that in 2016 the county attracted almost 20 million visitors - almost three million more than it did in 2011.
And that has helped increase the value of the county's visitor economy by around 30 percent over that five-year period.
Cllr Rylott, said: "These hard statistics show how important tourism is as a key industry for the county economy, employing more than 19,000 people.
"Next year our town will have celebrations for The Royal Air Force Centenary, again bringing visitors to the town. We are already working towards Mayflower 2020. Working closely with others is so important to make things happen and develop our tourism economy in the years to come."
The visitor economy board aims to:
- Lead, influence and champion the visitor economy agenda;
- Ensure that the visitor economy is co-ordinated and aligned to provide visitor economy businesses with a clear route of products and expertise that will help them fulfil their growth potential;
- Oversee visitor economy activity and ensure alignment with the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership's strategic economic plan;
- Facilitate the joining up of national and local business support and simplifying the local offer;
- Review the outcomes of the Greater Lincolnshire Tourism Review (which will identify what works and measure impact) and endorse recommendations;
- Influence and support the growth ambitions of visitor economy businesses within Greater Lincolnshire.
Cllr Rylott is pictured with a copy of the funding bid submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund. Also pictured is Richard Tory, chairman of Boston Big Local, at the new art deco garden in Central Park. Boston Big Local funded the majority of the cost of the garden project, with the borough council and Transported, the Boston and South Holland arts organisation, meeting the remainder of the cost.