An award-winning Wolds businessman has called for a more co-ordinated approach to marketing tourism in Lincolnshire.
Since moving to the county eight years ago, former Leicestershire police inspector Rob Folwell and wife Jeanette have made a big success of Greetham Retreat Holidays - their holiday cottage and caravan business.
At a recent conference at Louth’s Brackenborough Arms Hotel, Mr Folwell described how the couple had converted a pest-infested barn in a neglected crew yard into four-star holiday accommodation, focusing on guests who particularly appreciate nature.
The cottages are situated near Horncastle and have won a host of prestigious awards.
Among its attractions are a dragonfly-friendly wildlife pond and a wildflower meadow over which barn owls are regularly seen at dusk as they hunt for voles and shrews.
One of the 30 or so on-site nest boxes has even attracted a pair of kestrels.
Although pleased with the 77 per cent occupation rate the cottages, Mr Folwell said he felt the figure could be higher - if marketing and tourism in the county were not so “fragmented”.
He expressed disappointment at the quality of the county council’s Visit Lincolnshire website and said the Wolds missed out on two other similar sites - one chiefly promoting Lincoln and the other marketing the coastal strip between Mablethorpe and Skegness.
“We’re the bit in the middle,” he declared.
“Nationally, the Wolds is not well known.
“If all the county’s publicity and marketing resources were brought together, we could all benefit each other.”
About 100 delegates attended the meeting, organised by the Greater Lincolnshire Nature Partnership, which shares offices with the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust at Banovallum House in Horncastle.
Keynote speaker, expert Dr Simon Woodward, of Leeds-Beckett University, suggested a November “sealfest” ought to be organised as a commercial spin-off from the breeding colony of seals at Donna Nook.
Earlier, the director of Butlins Skegness, Chris Baron, was critical of people who did not recognise the commercial importance of holiday visitors to the county.
He insisted: “Tourism is a proper business, not a Cinderella industry!”