City of Lincoln Council delivered a successful 2021 Lincoln Christmas Market despite the pressures of an exceptional year due to Covid-19, allowing for an increase in visitors for the local economy.
In 2021, the city welcomed a covid-safe Lincoln Christmas Market between 2 and 5 December, drawing in a near-record 276,000 visitors over the four days.
In doing so, City of Lincoln Council committed to a loss in income to allow for Covid-19 safety procedures to take precedence and ensure the 2021 event went ahead.
According to economic assessments and visitor surveys previously conducted by the University of Lincoln, visitor spend from the annual market is estimated in the region of £12 million, with approximately £2.65 million going directly into the economic value of the city.
Ahead of the 2021 market, and reflecting the impact the pandemic had on some regular stallholders, many had ceased to trade or found other forms of business or employment, while others felt nervous about committing to any events due to potential cancellation due to government restrictions.
To maintain the quality of stalls, and to keep the reputation of the market, the city council made the decision to reduce the number of stalls at the 2021 market.
Reducing number of stalls, from 185, to 150, allowed for more space for visitors during the pandemic, and was just one of a number of procedures in place to give confidence in a covid-safe event. This also included hand sanitisation stations, the use of face coverings in indoor settings and crowded areas, and increased covid messaging both prior to and during the market.
However, stallholder fees are the main source of income for the Christmas Market and therefore a reduction in stalls had a serious impact on the budget.
This, combined with a shortfall in associated income from parking fees, resulted in an estimated income loss of £45,748 – a figure anticipated by the city council.
Cllr Neil Murray, Portfolio Holder for Inclusive Economic Growth at City of Lincoln Council said:
“In 2021 we fully committed to putting on the Lincoln Christmas Market as we are aware of the wider benefits the market brings to the local economy.
“The market is one of the biggest in the country and attracts visitors from far and wide, really putting Lincoln on the map, and is an important calendar event for many local businesses in the area, with over a third of the market’s stallholders from Lincolnshire.
“The 2021 market was a great success, welcoming 276,000 visitors, many of which are likely to visit our beautiful city again throughout the year, further benefitting the local economy.
“We continue to be proud to host this festive event, which keeps the spirit of Christmas alive in the city – something Lincoln greatly needed last year.”