Reflections: Emma Tatlow – A Magna-ificent year for Lincoln

For some years Visit Lincoln has been focussed on ensuring Lincoln collectively maximised on the opportunities that 2015 presented. The Cathedral have been the owner and guardian of the 1215 Magna Carta for 800 years – and June 15, 2015 was the 800th anniversary of the sealing of this significant document.

We were fortunate in Lincoln that not only to have 1215 Magna Carta, but Lincolnshire County Council and the Cathedral agreed that it should be re-housed in a visitor centre, which reflected the importance of this Great Charter. This new vault and visitor centre at Lincoln Castle was part of a much wider programme of refurbishment and development of the visitor offer – timed to open in April 2015 ready for the anniversary celebrations.

This combination of the anniversary and the significant investment in the Castle has brought stakeholders together in a really positive way. Everyone has worked together to ensure that the spotlight shines on Lincoln.

At Visit Lincoln, we have delivered the most high profile marketing campaign – possibly that the city has ever seen. A couple of years ago, the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (GLLEP) stated that nine out of 10 people from outside of the region didn’t know where Lincoln and Lincolnshire were. But, I think 2015 has gone a considerable way towards changing that. Yes, we still have a long way to go but more people than ever before are visiting Lincoln, talking about the city and perhaps changing their perceptions about this ‘sleepy backwater’ as we are so often known.

Highlights this year for Visit Lincoln include record breaking visitors coming to our website, placing national advertising for the city in key newspapers such as the Times & The Guardian. Working with Virgin Trains East Coast also has to be a highlight – as they saw the potential in Lincoln and added eight additional direct London to Lincoln services through the summer to enable visitors to more easily access the city.

And the events programme has been truly superb this year. From the British Cycling National Championships – and watching the elite riders and household names cycling through the streets of the city; to the Steampunk Festival that grows year on year – to Jesus Christ Superstar being performed in the Nave of Lincoln Cathedral. The Barons Charter trail has to be the event that has taken us all by surprise – the love for the Lincoln Barons was exceptional!

People from across the city and beyond really enjoyed the trail. Visit Lincoln delivered much of the marketing and promotion of the trail, supporting Lincoln BIG throughout the summer. The Lincoln Cultural and Arts Partnership has been formed to ensure that we maximise culture and understand the importance of it to a place – for residents, visitors, employees.

I am looking forward to 2016 and for us to be able to grow on the success of this year – to use 2015 as a new baseline for Lincoln’s performance as a visitor destination and to ensure the successes are built on so we can see further economic growth and jobs supported.

My New Year’s Resolution

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions! I just hope that 2016 is a happy, healthy and prosperous one.

Emma is the Head of Visit Lincoln, the destination organisation for promoting Central Lincolnshire. Emma has been involved in tourism and destinations for over ten years. Visit Lincoln is a part of the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce.