City bucks national tourism trends

North Laine, Brighton
North Laine, Brighton

More than 11 million people visited Brighton and Hove in 2016, new figures by Tourism South East have revealed.

The total number of visitors recorded for 2016 – 11,234,000 – was an increase of 6.4 per cent on the previous year, bucking national and regional trends; England saw visitor numbers increase by four per cent in 2016, while the South East overall recorded a decrease of two per cent.

Brighton Palace Pier

Brighton Palace Pier

The research showed expenditure by visitors to Brighton and Hove is estimated to have been in the region of £885.9 million in 2016, an increase of 3.2 per cent compared to 2015.

The data also shows the city had 9,627,000 day trippers, a 5.8 per cent upturn on 2015, while the amount of money spent during their trip increased by 6.2 per cent to £353 million.

The number of overnight stays in the city showed the biggest increase at 1,607,000, just over 10 per cent up on 2015.

Domestic visitors were shown to be the group that had contributed most to this growth with almost 15 per cent more overnight trips made by UK travellers compared with 2015 figures.

The only figure to have dipped slightly is the number of overnight trips made by overseas visitors, which was down marginally, by 2.1 per cent, though the research showed both the length and value of each trip has increased.

Cllr Alan Robins, Brighton and Hove City Council’s tourism, development and culture committee, said: “The statistics can be interpreted in a number of ways but generally these figures are a good indication of the tourism sector’s overall performance and it’s very encouraging to see that Brighton and Hove continues to be a popular visitor destination and is competing well at a regional and national level.

“The city’s tourism businesses contribute significantly to the local economy and provide employment equivalent to almost 16,000 full time jobs so it’s fair to say that the efforts of many people in our hotels, restaurants and shops have contributed to these positive results.”

Howard Barden, head of the council’s tourism arm VisitBrighton, said: “The city has an enviable location between the beach and South Downs countryside and leading attractions like the Royal Pavilion and Brighton Palace Pier, plus a vibrant programme of events and festivals continue to draw in visitors year-round.

“The city has around a billion pounds-worth of investment for the seafront, either underway or in the pipeline and new attractions, like the British Airways i360 and Zip Wire help to keep our visitor offer fresh and drive our visitor stats in a positive direction.”