Two-year drive to help Brighton’s visitor economy recovery
Tourist chiefs plan to court writers, broadcasters and decision-makers in the travel trade as part of a two-year drive to revive Brighton’s £1 billion visitor economy.
Their recovery plan includes a public relations campaign with more than 100 press trips and media visits planned, with influencers on social media also in their sights.
A key aim is to encourage people to switch from day trips to overnight breaks – for at least one night and preferably more.
As well as extended breaks, tourism bosses at Visit Brighton also want encourage people to come off-season.
They have set out their plans in a report to Brighton and Hove City Council’s Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee which is due to meet on Thursday (June 17).
The report said: “Visit Brighton will host over 100 press and media visits to experience the city in 2021-22 and write about different elements of the tourism offer such as the dazzling attractions, superior shopping and fabulous food and drink.
“Media visits will be integral in recovery – and partners across the city will support to deliver this activity.
“The #nevernormalbrighton campaign will be reactivated from June to December 2021, with a support toolkit to be amplified by city businesses.
“The specific focus is on high-spend, off-season visitors, encouraging overnight stays and extending short breaks, while broadening the offer to encompass the Greater Brighton area.”
The council is spending £1 million to improve the look and feel of Brighton and Hove, with the streets being jet washed, graffiti removed, more rubbish collections on the seafront and extra toilets put in place.
As part of efforts to extend the tourist season, a Christmas festival is planning for December, linking the Royal Pavilion estate and The Lanes.
The report also said: “A significant piece of work will focus on building back the conference and major business events programme, with a Brighton presence at meetings, conferences and exhibitions both in the UK and internationally.
“The Brighton Centre is due to reopen in August. Much of the business using the centre, which was displaced due to the pandemic, has relocated to the autumn of 2021 and 2022, along with the normal existing annual business already placed in the diary.
“Therefore, the Brighton Centre will be operating with higher event capacity to the end of 2022 at least, which will assist in sustaining numbers of visitors outside of the main visitor months.”
Tourism bosses are also trying to ensure that Brighton and Hove is represented in regional, national and international campaigns.
And they are encouraging businesses to sign up for Visit Britain’s “Good To Go” accreditation, with “We’re Good To Go” signs showing that a business is following government and industry covid-19 guidelines. These include having cleaning and social distancing measures in place.
The visitor economy traditionally attracts about 12 million visitors a year to Brighton and Hove, supports 24,000 jobs and brings in almost £1 billion a year
Overnight visitor rates for January to March were 63 per cent lower than the first three months last year.
Figures going before councillors suggest that, nationally, the visitor economy has been one of the sectors hit hardest by the official response to the pandemic.
Across the country, 22 restaurants a day have closed in the past 13 months and 10 per cent of venues have closed.
The Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee meeting is due to start at 4pm on Thursday (17 June) and is scheduled to be webcast on the council’s website.