Coastal businesses forced to take tough decisions to survive challenging market

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Tough decisions are being taken by coastal businesses hit by a slow start to the season due to bad weather, rail strikes and rising costs.

These should be the busiest weeks of the summer season – but sources tell the Standard that businesses can be at least 50% behind on where they need to be

The current situation follows new statistics that show businesses struggling to recover to pre-Covid times – in spite of an increase in tourism’s value to the county from £0.59bn to £2.62bn.

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2022 STEAM figures for Greater Lincolnshire reveal there were 30.82m visits to Greater Lincolnshire in 2022, 16.8% more than in 2021, but 7.8% lower than 2016 levels.

Coun Danny Brookes serving cake at his Indulgence Cafe in Skegness.Coun Danny Brookes serving cake at his Indulgence Cafe in Skegness.
Coun Danny Brookes serving cake at his Indulgence Cafe in Skegness.

Coun Colin Davie, Lincolnshire |County Council executive councillor for tourism, said: “Ever since the Covid pandemic engulfed us and the subsequent issues arose over Ukraine I have been very concerned about the impacts on our tourism, hospitality and leisure businesses.

"They have been caught in a perfect storm of considerable cost pressures on their business at the very same time as their customers are equally pressurised.

"This year we had hoped to see a considerable improvement but businesses are now reporting that many are between 30% and 50% behind on where they need to be.

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"All businesses need to think carefully, adapt to cut costs and seek all help and support that is available, if they are to survive to start the 2024 season. These are the most difficult trading conditions for this sector that most have ever experienced and the clock is already ticking down to the end of this seasons opportunity to redress some of the previous losses incurred.”

Coun Danny Brookes serving cakes at his Indulgence cafe.Coun Danny Brookes serving cakes at his Indulgence cafe.
Coun Danny Brookes serving cakes at his Indulgence cafe.

Coun Danny Brookes has kiosks on the seafront but has had to have a rethink about the way he runs his Indulgence Cafe in the High Street,

"We’ve stopped doing food such as bacon and sausage baps and paninis because it costs too much to keep the ovens on,” he said.

"When our deal ended in March our electricity monthly payment went up from £1,300 to £3,700. Now we are just serving drinks and homemade cakes and desserts.

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"A few people have complained but we have had to do it – but as more people are coming in just for drinks I don’t think profits will be too different.”

On a more positive note, businesses are being invited to come together to help write the next chapter in developing tourism by creating a strategic destination management plan.

Destination Lincolnshire is holding a series of workshops in Greater Lincolnshire with the aim of getting the county’s movers and shakers pulling in the same direction.

One of these workshops was held in Skegness on Friday morning.

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Charlotte Goy, CEO of Destination Lincolnshire said: “There are some innovative policy changes that we can build on over the next couple of years. I’m confident that together we will all be on the starting line, ready to march forward this new era in tourism, collectively growing Lincolnshire’s £2.4bn visitor economy.”

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