Lincolnshire Talks: Will Brexit see British holidaymakers swap Santorini for Skegness?

This story is over

Foreign holidays are in a state of flux. The value of the pound has driven up the price of getaways. Terrorist attacks feel like a daily occurrence in mainland Europe and when we finally do leave the EU, visa restrictions are likely to make foreign holidays that little bit more stressful to book.

In wake of all this, we ask, are Brits flocking back for a classic seaside getaway?

Skegness was part of the initial boom that led to Brits choosing to spend a few days away from the chaos of the city.

The opening of Butlins in 1936 saw the Lincolnshire coast become the place to escape too and by the 1950s our coastlines were dotted with caravan holiday parks.

These types of holidays have a reputation for being reliable, easy and ultimately good value for money.

And, in a climate of uncertainty, Councillor Colin Davie believes that is exactly what holidaymakers are looking for.

Good times ahead?

Councillor Colin Davie, Executive Member for Economic Development for Lincolnshire County Council. Photo Steve Smailes for Lincolnshire Reporter

Councillor Davie said that there could be as much as a 30-40% increase on visitor numbers on the Lincolnshire coast compared with 2016.

He said: “There’s already indications that holiday bookings are up on last year, and last year was a very big season.

“It’s not just the coast. We’re going to be looking at huge numbers of visitors coming to Lincolnshire as a whole.”

“I believe Lincolnshire has a lot to offer and the weakness of the pound combined with the instability caused by terror attacks in Europe will attract people from all over the world to the UK.

“Tourism here in Lincolnshire is a billion pound industry. And we predict that in the next five years we can double that to two billion pounds.

“Our role is to make sure that we put Lincolnshire on not only the national but the international map. We have plenty of heritage options such as Lincoln and Stamford.

“We’re also looking at the ways we can extend our tourism season. We’ve been doing a lot of work on improving what we call ‘green tourism’.

“These are our nature trails and wildlife sites. We’ve seen a huge increase in visitor numbers to Gibraltar Point and places like Whisby where we continue to invest.

“I’m extremely optimistic for the Lincolnshire tourism industry. I believe that the boom years and clearly in sight and I think that we should all work together to make the best of Brexit.”

More to be done?

The award-winning Hardy’s Animal Farm is investing large amounts of money into the local tourism sector. Photo: Hardy’s Animal Farm

Stuart Hardy is the owner of Hardy’s Animal Farm, an award winning tourist attraction in Ingoldmells.

He is continuing to invest in the Lincolnshire coast after the Brexit vote.

Stuart said: “We’ll be investing over £9.5 million into a new holiday facility which will set a new standard in quality of visitor experience and design for the Lincolnshire coast.

“We are making this investment because we can see that there are positive times ahead for the UK holiday market if the quality of the offer is kept high.

“However, we do face issues with the VAT rate in the UK compared to European destinations as their rates are nearer to 7% compared to our 20%.

“This is something that makes our prices artificially high when compared to Europe and actually pushes people away from UK resorts.

“The effect of the weak pound has helped to counteract this, but we really need the government to look at this issue to ensure that we support this valuable sector of the economy which is a significant employer nationally.”

Will you be taking more UK holidays after Brexit? Let us know in the comments below or by emailing [email protected]

Spotted an error? Please notify us by selecting that text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.