‘Much is happening to make Boston a more attractive place to live, visit and do business in’ according to council leaders.
As well as showing footfall and car parking tickets falling, the council’s performance figures for quarter one showed that visits to the Tourism Information Centre (TIC) and Guildhall had also dropped by six and eight per cent respectively.
However, Boston Borough Council’s portfolio holder for the town centre Paul Skinner has urged people to ‘get involved in talking the town up, not down’.
He said: ““As a visitor destination Boston has much to offer in terms of heritage and history – how many other small towns in the region can offer the grandness of St Botolph’s Church (Boston Stump) – not much beats a trip up the Stump tower into wide open blue skies on a day when the weather is kind. I would recommend this to anyone who can spare the time on a sunny market day. If you think Boston is tired, forgotten, down at heel ,the vistas awaiting you will soon change your mind.
“We still have one of the biggest weekly markets in the area and it maintains its position as a favourite with visitors, shoppers and traders despite the difficult economic times we have been through. We do have some empty shop units, as does every town, but our shop vacancy levels are among the lowest.”
A council spokesman said that in the case of the Guildhall and TIC the tendency had been for increases in admissions. They believed there was no real significance in the fact that in the last quarter, over 50 days of opening, admissions were down by an average of 3.5 visitors a day.
They added TIC users and Guildhall users are counted individually and the numbers do not reflect conscious decisions of TIC users not to visit the Guildhall.
They said Scarborough Tousim Economic Activity Model data, which Lincolnshire County Council commissioned, indicated tourism for Boston to have risen from 1,282,000 people in 2013 to 1,302,000 in 2014.
He pointed to a number of initiatives, some from the council and some working in partnership; ranging from the £2 million Market Place development, which is due to start stage two in late 2016; to membership of the modern Hanseatic League and the appointment of various officers to promote the town.
He added: “I’d rather pose the question, ask not what Boston can do for you, but what can you do for Boston? We can all help by looking for the positives and talking the town up – our reputation and our perceived attractiveness depends upon it.”