Boston’s tourism industry appears to be sailing towards new opportunities as the town has attracted the attention of tour operators.
The town is so far set to feature in four tours, two of which are taking place in September 2018 and 2019 to celebrate Mayflower 400, a national event marking the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the famous ship.
The tours are being organised by Tours International and Reformation Tours and will explore the stories of the Pilgrims.
As part of the trips, one of which begins in Amsterdam, tourists will visit Boston Stump, Boston Guildhall, and the Pilgrim Fathers Memorial.
A spokesman for Tours International said: “We specialise in both History and Christianity tours and in particular commemorative tours. America is one of our most important markets and we welcome many American tour groups into the UK, so when we were heard about Mayflower 400, we knew this would be a brilliant fit for us and our clients.
“It’s a great opportunity to mark a very important time in history and the relationship between the two countries, so we are anticipating a lot of interest in the tours.”
To critics who have argued the town’s role in the Pilgrim story gets a disproportionate amount of attention, the spokesman said: “In our experience, enthusiasts or visitors trying to trace their roots or find out about their ancestors want to visit every important location or step on the journey, so we try to ensure our tours facilitate that for them.
“Quite often the smaller, less obviously key, locations are as exciting for visitors as the more obvious ones, as they feel they are getting a genuine insight and something a bit more special, which other more general tours might not include.”
The news follows a recent visit to the town of tour operators as part of the Mayflower 400 preparations.
Organisers of the event, which hosted members of trade association UK Inbound said operators were ‘ hugely impressed with the Boston offer’.
A meal at the White Hart Hotel was followed by a guided tour around Boston Guildhall and The Stump.
A spokesman for Mayflower 400 said: “The tour operators were not at all familiar with Boston, however feedback from them has been extremely positive.
“Comments and observations from the group included that; the Boston connections to the Pilgrims story are real and tangible; it is an accessible and group friendly destination; they were very impressed with the town and its appeal to international visitors as it is so quintessentially English.”
A number of the operators later held meetings with the council and the White hart Hotel, to discuss in more detail the types of visits they are potentially interested in making.
The aim is that further tours will begin in 2018, building in frequency towards 2020.