A county tourism partnership including South Kesteven District Council has scooped a national award for its new approach to tourism using aviation heritage as a theme.
The Innovation in Tourism Award was one of five presented by the editorial team of Group Travel Organisers (GTO) magazine at its prestigious awards night in London on Friday.
The black tie dinner saw partners flying the flag for Lincolnshire alongside Eurostar, P&O Cruises, Virgin Atlantic and other award winners in the travel industry.
SKDC is working with the Petwood Hotel in Woodhall Spa, Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Visitor Centre, Lincoln’s International Bomber Command Centre, Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire and Visit Lincoln.
The project started last autumn, when SKDC joined Stoke Rochford Hall to host group travel operators for visits to county aviation sites.
GTO editorial director Peter Stonham joined last October’s Stoke Rochford tour, visiting RAF Scampton, Lincoln’s International Bomber Command Centre and Lancaster aircraft Just Jane at East Kirkby.
The theme was then picked up at a ‘Welcome to Lincolnshire’ joint exhibit at the British Travel and Tourism exhibition at the NEC in March.
GTO editor Val Bayton, speaking on Friday night, said: “In 2017 we are pleased to recognise a project that over the last few years has been building in scope. We recognise the innovation in identifying a county-wide shared theme, linking heritage venues, and in developing the richness of each venue’s offer.
“The Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire project is becoming an inspired experience with themed trails linking museums, visitor centres and events revealing the county’s unique aviation history and ensuring they are easy for visitors and groups to access.”
The group is now working to co-ordinate bespoke and inspirational itineraries for travel organisers, and has made a bid to the Discover England fund to further promote Lincolnshire.
Councillor Nick Robins, SKDC cabinet member with responsibility for retail and visitor economy, said: “To win this award is testimony to the hard work the team has put in and, going forward, it shows a commitment by the council to promote South Kesteven as a tourist destination.”