THE new public/ private partnership tasked with driving forward tourism in East Lincolnshire has recruited another major ally in Skegness Town Council.
Councillors voted unanimously in favour of paying the £1,500 membership fees to join the East Lincolnshire Destination Management Organisation at the council’s latest meeting on Wednesday.
The decision to join had previously been met with some concerns from councillors over the organisation’s make up and the role the council would be able to play in it.
However DMO chairman and Butlins resort director Chris Baron was able to allay many of those fears during a motivational speech he made at the meeting.
He said: “It’s a leap of faith, but it’s a leap that has been taken by quite a few people who have put their hands in their own pockets and I think it would be a really good sign for Skegness Town Council to support this initiative.
“Will it work? I don’t know, but this is the first time I’ve seen this many businesses working together.”
Mr Baron explained that the DMO was formed to fill the void left by Visit Lincolnshire’s demise, with an organisation which, unlike its predecessor, would enable coastal attractions to ‘control their destiny’ rather than being led by Lincoln.
By uniting businesses and attractions from the wider area Mr Baron hopes the DMO can promote the region as a complete package, catering for all tastes, rather than treating Skegness ‘as an island’ on its own.
He was keen to stress that its objectives were not confined purely to marketing but were also to unite businesses to ‘drive forward where tourism in this area goes’.
East Lindsey District Council’s role in the DMO had been a source of concern for several councillors who feared it may monopolise the organisation in its dual role as member and administrator.
Although Mr Baron conceded that ‘squabbles’ were likely he explained that ELDC would only have one vote in the organisation’s decisions just like every other member and that its offer to carry out administrative duties at no cost, would be foolish to refuse.
Coun Neil Cooper agreed that it would have been ‘mad’ not to take the free offer and Coun Gary Ellis felt that ‘it’s time we forget about what has happened in the past’
With these concerns alleviated, Mr Baron felt the town council could benefit from knowing what businesses think about tourism and could also give a voice to some of the smaller businesses unable to afford the DMO’s membership fees.