New report highlights contribution of nature tourism to the economy of Greater Lincolnshire

New figures have revealed that nature tourism is worth £58million a year to the economy of Greater Lincolnshire.

This headline figure comes from research commissioned by the Greater Lincolnshire Nature Partnership (GLNP) to place a value on the contribution made by nature tourism to the overall visitor economy of Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire and to look at barriers and opportunities for developing this as an integral part of Greater Lincolnshire's tourism sector.

The report's findings were announced at the GLNP's fourth annual conference entitled 'The value of nature tourism' held at The Brackenborough Hotel near Louth on 12 November.

The keynote was given by the report's author Dr Simon Woodward from Leeds Beckett University who undertook the research.

Dr Woodward said: "Our research suggests that nature tourism in Greater Lincolnshire already generates around £58 million for the economy every year, supporting more than 850 jobs. It is important, therefore, that we make the most of the opportunities that exist to get visitors to think a little bit more about the landscapes they are enjoying and the wildlife that lives here.

"The more we do that, the more opportunities there are for developing tourism products and services that both enhance visitor satisfaction but also create jobs for local people."

Around 100 delegates attended the event comprising representatives from across the conservation and tourism sectors including representatives from all of Greater Lincolnshire's local authorities and a large number of private businesses.

The welcome was from Chris Baron Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (GLLEP) representative for the tourism economy and Resort Director at Butlins.

Two examples of how nature can be incorporated into successful tourism ventures were also heard, from a small business perspective by Jeanette and Rob Folwell of Greetham Retreat Holidays and by Kate Dent demonstrating the landscape approach in the Nene Valley for Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership.

GLNP Chairman, Richard Chadd, said: "We are delighted that our conference on nature tourism has attracted such a wide range of delegates, interested in hearing not only the findings of the research we commissioned but also the potential for growing the economic impact of nature tourism in the future.

"Anecdotal evidence meant that many of us working in both the conservation and the tourism sectors knew that nature tourism was an important segment of the visitor economy but this research was crucial in actually placing a current value on that.

"The landscape and ecology of Greater Lincolnshire is a key part of its attraction and we now have the evidence to demonstrate the contribution it makes. We believe that nature tourism can be the catalyst that helps to turn day trips into overnight stays or bring people to the area in the quieter months increasing the value of tourism overall."