Tourism bosses in Lincolnshire have assured that the sector will “bounce back” from the coronavirus crisis.
Officials from Visit Lincoln, Lincolnshire County Council and accountants Duncan and Toplis, said billions of pounds could be “wiped out” as a result of the virus.
But Councillor Colin Davie, executive member for economy and place at the county council, said there was “no reason” why the county would not return better from the pandemic.
In Greater Lincolnshire, tourism generated an estimated £2.4 billion last year with 2.1 million people visiting the county in the summer and spring.
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The lockdown restrictions will have a knock on effect on overall visitor numbers and income for next year as a result of resorts shutting down.
But Charlotte Goy, interim chief executive of Visit Lincoln, said, while sectors such as hospitality and tourism have been the hardest hit, things will get better.
“While business owners might be firefighting right now, I’d urge them to also think about the future and plan for their recovery,” she said.
“Lincolnshire has several attributes which should mean we’re well placed to capitalise when people start to go on holiday again when restrictions lift.
“We’re in a rural setting with fresh air and a sense of freedom, which I think people will find attractive when they’ve been stuck inside and they’re wary of crowded areas. And, of course, I expect that people will be more drawn toward staying in the UK for their holidays in future, so that should put us in a strong position.
“The situation right now is awful, but things will get better.”
Meanwhile, Councillor Davie predicted that the outcome of the pandemic would be a “resurgence” for tourism.
He said people will “yearn” for the outdoors and attractions once restrictions are lifted.
“There is absolutely no reason why the sector will not bounce back,” he said.
“I think there will be a resurgence of British people to our destinations. After a few weeks and months of restrictions, people will yearn to come to castles and cathedrals in the county.”
The virus has forced a number of resorts and business to close across the county.
Attractions such as Butlins, Hardy’s Animal Farm and Belvoir Castle have closed their doors to the public amid restrictions on movement imposed by the government.
However, government has offered support in the shape of grants, loans and an offer to pay 80% of workers’ salaries.
Michelle Co-Baxter, head of tourism at Duncan and Toplis, said the virus could not have come at a worse time for some businesses.
“This is going to be devastating for businesses, many of which won’t have had significant revenue since September and owners will have invested in their businesses over the winter expecting to reap the rewards now,” she said.
“While it might seem like an impossible challenge, I’m confident that most businesses will be able to weather the storm and there will be much better times ahead.”
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