The Lincoln Christmas Market made a £45,000 loss for the organisers last year, but it was still a big hit with visitors as it drew in a near-record 276,000 people, who spent some £12 million during the annual four-day event.
The visitors numbers for the 2021 event represented a 15% increase on 2019 despite the pressures of the coronavirus pandemic.
Visitor spend from the annual market is estimated in the region of £12 million, according to economic assessments and visitor surveys previously conducted by the University of Lincoln. Around £2.65 million went directly into the economic value of the city.
Some 150 stalls were in Castle Square, Lincoln Castle grounds, The Lawn, and Westgate, providing a range of both local and national gifts, food and drink between December 2 and 5, 2021.
To maintain the quality of stalls, and to keep the reputation of the market, the city council reduced the number of stalls at last year’s event from 185 to 150 to allow more space for visitors.
However, stallholder fees are the main source of income for the Christmas Market, so the reduction in stalls had a serious impact on the budget.
This, combined with a shortfall in associated income from parking fees, resulted in an estimated income loss of £45,748 – a figure anticipated by the city council.
Neil Murray, Portfolio Holder for Inclusive Economic Growth at City of Lincoln Council, said: “In 2021 we fully committed to putting on the Lincoln Christmas Market as we are aware of the wider benefits the market brings to the local economy.
“The market is one of the biggest in the country and attracts visitors from far and wide, really putting Lincoln on the map, and is an important calendar event for many local businesses in the area, with over a third of the market’s stallholders from Lincolnshire.
“The 2021 market was a great success, welcoming 276,000 visitors, many of which are likely to visit our beautiful city again throughout the year, further benefitting the local economy.
“We continue to be proud to host this festive event, which keeps the spirit of Christmas alive in the city – something Lincoln greatly needed last year.”
Meanwhile, next year will be the 40th anniversary of the event – the 2022 Lincoln Christmas Market will take place between December 1 and 4.