Lincolnshire County Council will invest £500,000 into the tourism sector in the next 18 months – including a new-look website and the promotion of a “green package holiday” offer.

The authority has put together a £12 million support package for the local economy and bosses say the sector was of “critical importance”.

The new look website was launched on Thursday afternoon and will allow potential visitors to book their whole trip to Lincolnshire from accommodation including dining and days out.

Executive councillor for economy and place Councillor Colin Davie said there would be an “obvious severe impact” from COVID-19 despite government and council funding packages.

He acknowledged there would be the loss of a number of businesses including some of the older hotels along the coastal areas.

However, he said businesses that had “prepared for the long haul” and gone “into hibernation” will “probably emerge much stronger.

He said the money will fund major campaigns to promote the county and increase access to a much-needed workforce.

“We’ve got no doubt, we are going to see a vast influx of visitors as soon as those restrictions are lifted.

“We believe that when the season kicks off, there won’t be any vacancies anywhere across Lincolnshire, and that’s got to be a good thing to help businesses recover,” he said.

“Our package today is about preparing the brand, to help them get a quick lift off in relation to the sector recovering, so everything we’re doing is about preparing for the future, short term but also preparing for the medium and long term future.”

A new green toolkit will also help strengthen environmentally friendly tourism by offering independent advice to businesses, while the council will also sponsor a new green category in the annual Lincolnshire Tourism Awards.

This will focus businesses on not only being more environmentally friendly, but also providing green activities such as cycling and walking.

This would also feed into some of Lincolnshire’s recent projects including the North Sea Observatory and the coastal footpath.

The council recently offered a series of grants to small and medium businesses but had to close them 24 hours after offering them due to “unprecedented demand”.

It is hoped further grants will be available to business in the future to help them to digitise and to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The authority is currently looking at where it can move money around from undersubscribed schemes and where it can work with partners to enhance its offering.