Staff working in Lincoln’s Visitor Information Centre said 2015 really worked its magic in bringing more first-time tourists to the city and they were genuinely wowed by our history and heritage, charm and character and great shopping.
Together with returning visitors they kept the VIC’s 10-strong team, headed by Manager Michele Sims, on their toes and Michele is confident that the surge of publicity generated during the 800th Anniversary Year of Magna Carta will keep them busy in the coming months too.
“We felt that 2015, with the great anticipated re-opening of Lincoln Castle and the Magna Carta anniversary was going to be special. We had high expectations from the outset,” said Michele.
“The reality exceeded our expectations in both quantity and the duration of people’s stays. Visitor numbers at the Visitor Information Centre increased by a third from Easter to Autumn (compared to 2014), peaking in Summer, with daily numbers typically exceeding 1,000.”
Special highlights included the results of Lincoln Castle’s £22m investment, featuring the Medieval Wall Walk and the P J Ross Magna Carta Vault. The Great Magna Carta Event in June was also popular and the Lincoln Barons’ Charter Trail captured everyone’s imagination, young and old.
Michele said “The Great Exhibition, which showcased Lincolnshire’s wonderful collection of treasures was also a big attraction. People also loved the Frequency Festival, which featured a fantastic digital light show at the Castle.
“We received approximately 30 per cent more visitors in the Information Centre and we definitely noticed a growing trend – visitors appreciate being welcomed in person,” said Michele.
The VIC stocks a wide range of souvenirs and tourists (and locals) have been particularly keen to snap-up Magna Carta-style mementos.
“Since April (2015), the VIC has sold nearly 1,000 Magna Carta scrolls. Since the start of the Lincoln Barons’ Charter Trail, we ordered 5,500 “Paint Your Own Barons”, and these turned out to be the “must have” Christmas stocking filler for 2015,” said Michele.
“Due to the popularity of the Trail we also created our own souvenirs. As a result, we sold over 1,000 fridge magnets and 1,000 postcards, not to mention over 400 Barons’ Charity Calendars!,” she added.
Lincoln BIG has been managing the Castle Hill VIC under a service level agreement with the City of Lincoln Council for the past six years. Staff also look after the Open Top Tour Bus and satellite visitor information points, sell a range of local gifts, souvenirs and tickets, organise and man special events stalls and much more.
After being awarded WorldHost Recognition for Excellent Customer Service last May, the Centre went on to be awarded a 2015 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence, with a 4.5 out of 5 rating.