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Words: Glynis Fox
Photography: Mick Fox
Featured in the June 2016 issue

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As Skegness and its sister resorts aspire to grow and become “year-round” holiday destinations, the quality of welcome and comfort offered to guests has never been more important.

In recognition of this, the Skegness East Coast and Wolds Hospitality Association (SECWHA) has recently boosted its team. Now it is encouraging more businesses to tap into the benefits of this 100-member organisation and its quality assurance scheme.

SECWHA chair, Bill Hutchinson said: “We believe a quality experience should be available to all our visitors, regardless of their budget. Our Rest Assured Quality Scheme gives people extra confidence when looking for a place to stay. It covers minimum standards, legal requirements and a comprehensive range of measures.

“Although a national quality scheme exists, many businesses have not engaged with that, showing a preference for the local scheme which we developed with and for East Lindsey tourism and hospitality businesses based in the coastal resorts, market towns and rural hinterland.”

Over the past year SECWHA has expanded with the arrival of part-time office manager Elizabeth Sargent and business development manager June Howard.

It is now exploring ways in which it can increase its members, which might include opening it up to trade suppliers in the future. The team also continues to help produce the Skegness Visitor Guide and is responsible for organising the annual Caterex Catering & Hospitality Show.

“One of June’s priorities this year is to promote our Rest Assured Quality Scheme much more widely in the county and to hotel associations across the country. We share responsibility for the Skegness Guide with East Lindsey District Council, so will also be selling space within that publication. The Council distributes the brochure,” said Mr Hutchinson.

In addition to assisting SECWHA members with their enquiries, Elizabeth is already starting to plan for the 2017 Caterex Catering & Hospitality exhibition, following another successful show in February.

Anyone wanting more information about SECWHA can call 01754 767300.

SUMMERTIME AT THE LINCOLNSHIRE COAST
An early Easter kick-started the momentum and, in the process, highlighted East Lindsey’s development managers’ ambitions to extend the season and encourage people to visit the area all year round.

Their message is: there’s more to the Lincolnshire Coast than you might at first imagine. It’s not just ideal for a family beach holiday, there’s plenty for nature lovers, shopaholics and fans of amusement arcades and celebrity-style entertainment.

A wide range of resorts, including Skegness, Ingoldmells, Sutton on Sea, Mablethorpe and Trusthorpe, means there is something to suit everyone, from a family with young children to couples and groups of friends. The choice of accommodation also includes smart hotels, friendly guest houses, caravan sites and holiday camps.

Among those working to raise the profile of the area and attract more investment to build a brighter future, is Lincolnshire Coastal Destination BID development manager Lisa Collins, who is keen to see the creation of a Destination Business Improvement District (BID) to boost the local economy.

At the same time Bill Hutchinson and his colleagues at the Skegness, East Coast and Wolds Hospitality Association – a holiday accommodation marketing group – are promoting quality places to stay, which are backed by its Rest Assured Inspection Scheme. The Association also supports its 100-strong membership in a variety of other ways.

But what exactly will you find at the coast? Skegness is great for families whose list of holiday essentials features sea, sand, donkey rides, gardens to relax in, fun arcades, shopping, a pier and of course, top quality fish and chip restaurants.

Attractions and entertainment include the Skegness Aquarium, a watery world of pirate adventure, alive with tropical fish. Youngsters of all ages will also enjoy Natureland, with its children’s corner and the opportunity to feed seals and penguins.

Then there’s The Embassy Theatre, a top entertainment venue, which hosts well-known stars, tribute groups, children’s shows, West End Musicals and more.

Skegness is also a draw for people who enjoy outdoor bowling, indoor ten-pin bowling and swimming and the area is popular with golfers. They can choose to improve their swing at the Seacroft or North Shore Golf Clubs in Skegness or at the Addlethorpe Golf Club in Ingoldmells.

Nearby is where Butlin’s all started in 1936. Today the company’s Skegness resort, which has benefited from substantial investment, features a Splash Waterworld, with fast flumes, beach area, café bars and more. Children will love the traditional fairground, sports and activities, including those taking place in the camp’s eyecatching Skyline Pavilion.

Anyone with a passion for the natural world, will also want to put Gibraltar Point on their list of must-visit places, whether they are enjoying a day trip or staying at the coast for a week or more.

Not only can you escape for a peaceful walk in this area; depending upon your timing you can spot anything from the latest migrant birds to a barn owl or even a fox.

A new £1 million visitor centre, café and educational facility is being built at the site, which stretches from the edge of Skegness to the mouth of The Wash. It will replace an earlier complex damaged during a storm surge in December 2013.

Lincolnshire County Council is behind the plan for the new building, which has been developed in partnership with the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, and which is due to open soon.

Lincolnshire Coastal Destination BID development manager Lisa Collins said: “I genuinely feel that we are set for a very good season because of the work which is being done within the business community.

“Businesses are working better together and they are opening earlier in the season. If we want to realise our ambition of extending the season we need our businesses to get used to staying open for longer. Historically, we have tended to be seen as a bucket and spade family holiday destination, but we are about much more than that.

“We have three golf courses in the area, fishing lakes, the Fantasy Island Theme Park, Gibraltar Point, and special events. People also have a fantastic choice of places to stay, from hotels and guests houses to caravan and glamping sites.”

Following a feasibility study commissioned by East Lincolnshire Destination Management Organisation (DMO), Skegness Partnership and the District Council, Lisa is working to draw up plans for a Destination BID for the coastal strip.

“The BID would be specifically for tourism-related businesses,” said Lisa. “Through a levy on those businesses, based on their individual rateable values, we could potentially generate £500,000 a year. This money would be used to help improve our resorts and to market them more effectively.

“I hope to be able to ballot the businesses early next year and to secure the necessary support to make the BID a reality.”

Lisa added that in addition to the proposed BID, Boston & Skegness MP Matt Warman has asked the Government what support it is giving to coastal resorts to encourage year-round trading.

SO FESTIVAL
East Lindsey is gearing up for another fantastic outdoor summer arts extravaganza, when the SO Festival bursts onto the district’s streets.

People are urged to make the most of nine days of explosive entertainment, taking place from 25th June to 3rd July, including performances in Mablethorpe and Skegness.

Weird, wonderful and unforgettable acts include ragtime, blues and early swing music from the California Feetwarmers, who are jetting in from America to perform across Skegness in the run-up to the Festival’s finale weekend.

Travelling Light Circus will be presenting Pendulum Fantastica, a mechanical marvel that fuses science and art to produce a hypnotic display using twenty silver spheres.

Other acts include Transe Express show Mu, a large-scale aerial performance telling the story of the table of elements; The Bullzini Family’s Equilibrius offering the thrills and spills of high-wire walking and Avanti Display – Reliquary, a spectacular work of art, engineering and obsession.

The Festival kicks off on Saturday 25th June in Mablethorpe. Over the next five days, people can catch it in Horncastle (26th June), Alford (27th June), Louth (28th June), Spilsby (29th June) and Woodhall Spa (30th June).

The fun continues when the SO Festival entertains holidaymakers in Skegness over the weekend of Friday 1st July to Sunday 3rd July.

BRIGHT FUTURE
Ingoldmells is a hugely popular coastal village which lies just three miles north of Skegness.

It is home to a large Butlin’s holiday camp, the famous Fantasy Island amusement park and thousands upon thousands of caravans.

The Nottingham-based Mellors Group – a supplier of attractions and fairground rides for events and festivals – recently acquired the forty-one-acre Fantasy Island resort, which comprises a theme park, 340 static pitches and a seven-day indoor market.

The resort, which typically attracts 40,000 visitors a day during the high season, went into administration in 2014 but now faces a brighter future under its new owners, who say they have interesting investment plans for the attraction.

HIGHWAYS BOOST
Lincolnshire’s important tourism economy is getting a vital shot in the arm, thanks to £4 million in funding from the Greater Lincolnshire LEP.

This money will help kick-start a major £5.7m project designed to improve roads, footpaths and cycle paths between Skegness and Ingoldmells this year.

The three-year Go Skegness project will incorporate much-needed improvements along the A52 and at junctions and congestion hotspots, as well as improvements to bus lanes, footpaths and cycle paths.

Work planned for 2016/17 includes a bus lane extension on the A52 to link the two existing sections, a continuous path and cycle path from Butlin’s to Skegness and two improved bus stops in Lumley Road, Skegness.

There are also plans for an extension to the bus layby in Roman Bank, near Sea Lane junction in Ingoldmells and foot and cycle path improvements at Gibraltar Point.

Councillor Colin Davie, Executive Member for Economic Development said: “Tourism is booming on the East Coast and these improvements should help ensure this upwards trend continues for the foreseeable future.

“Tourism is a cornerstone of the Lincolnshire economy, bringing in £1 billion a year, so the benefits of these works will be felt countywide. Hopefully this project will help to attract other investment to the area, taking it to new heights.”

WELCOME TO LOWNDES OF SKEGNESS, THE EAST COAST’S FAVOURITE STORE FOR TOYS, GAMES, CLOTHES AND MUCH, MUCH MORE!
This well established family business was founded in 1920 and for 96 years we have provided quality and service for generations all over the country.

We stock a wide range of character merchandise, toys, gifts and novelties. If you are an avid puzzler, Lowndes is the shop for you! You will find over 100 different jigsaws from the comic style of Jan Van Haasteren to the beauty of Thomas Kinkade or even the more challenging Wasjig. Extra large and unique shaped puzzles are also available.

Our designer wear for children is unique and comprehensive, suitable for party and play. We offer one of the largest collections in Lincolnshire from the ranges of Mayoral, IDo, Timberland and others. You will be sure to find something to fit any little one from newborn to twelve years.

Our aim has always been to provide top quality products with a top quality service and it will remain our aim for many years to come. So whether it’s making a jigsaw on the table or a sandcastle on the beach, you will find it here at Lowndes of Skegness!

R Lowndes, 99 Lumley Road, Skegness, Lincolnshire PE25 3LZ. Tel: 01754 763278.

SKEGNESS PIER IS ONE OF THE LARGEST AMUSEMENT CENTRES IN EUROPE
If you are looking for a traditional family day out then no visit to Skegness is complete without a walk through the Pier and out onto its decking. There is something for all members of the family. We boast a full sized Qubica AMF Bowling centre known as Skegness Bowl, Laser Quest arena along with the Hollywood Bar & Diner serving a choice of delicious gourmet burgers on a wooden platter.

Youngsters can enjoy the large children’s soft play area known as Captain Kid’s Adventure World. For some extra fun why not try our Camel racing where you race your own camel against others. The winners receive a voucher to spend in our prize shop, where we have a vast variety of prizes.

There are several catering outlets also to enjoy, including a coffee and tea lounge where we serve traditional Afternoon Tea in china cups and saucers. On our outer Pier Deck you can take a stroll to the end of the Pier and look across to Hunstanton, which is clearly visible on occasions.

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