Tourism chiefs spell out covid recovery plan

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 Tourism Recovery Plan 2012-23 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 (17 June).

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.

  1. Richard Reply

    What is the point of all of this, if once you get here you spend half you break in a traffic jam ? Unless the roads and traffic flow is improved to allow cars to reach the hotels quickly and efficiently, people will choose to go elsewhere.

    • Ned Reply

      Better still, out of town parking and shuttle buses servicing the hotels…

      • Malcolm Reply

        The Greens don’t do Park and Ride. It’s an admission that they have to cater for cars, which of course, should be discouraged

        • Chaz. Reply

          Unless it is for one of their own and his little lemon buses.
          They, anything goes.

      • Phol Reply

        City litter is disgusting, you can get to the outskirts of Brighton in 35 mins from London and then spend 1 hour trying to get parked / to your hotel and spend £20 a day in parking.

  2. Valerie Reply

    It would be nice to offer non-booze, sea-oriented events using the sailing club members or what’s left of Marina based sailing people. A change of pace away from hens & stag visitors, West St clubbers and the century old image of dodginess & sleaze.

    The marathons have been useful non-sleaze offerings.

    We need to also start celebrating our Regency architecture and the huge number of listed bldgs clustered in the ol Brunswick town part of Hove. Any tours of these ever been tried for out of town visitors? There is the Regency Town House project & breathtaking Adelaide Crescent/Palmeira Square (where I once took my visitors for a picnic on the lawn). Hove is neglected and a place to come for a bit of peace!

  3. Emily Reply

    Why not put up thre price of parking by a large margin, and create traffic gridlock? That should do the trick!

    • Peter Challis Reply

      Just a shame that Green Councillor Amy Heley – chair of the Environmental Transport and Sustainability (ETS) committee is doing everything she can to dissuade visitors from coming here.

      – Barely used cycle lanes and bus gates causing unnecessary congestion, traffic delays, and increasing emissions
      – Higher parking charges and reduced parking capacity
      – Lack of progress on practical alternatives such as park-and-ride
      – Stated aim to make they city centre car-free (including EVs!)by 2023

      Basically come to Brighton & Hove by bus, bike, train, or walk – otherwise please will visitors go somewhere else instead. After all think of all the business cyclists from Shoreham will bring to the city.

  4. Frances Morrison Reply

    Having relocated from Brighton last summer- the plan was for a trip back to see old friends this summer but the cost of accommodation is ridiculously expensive. If you really want visitors then you need to encourage those offering accommodation to consider cheaper deals.
    We love Brighton but not willing to pay these prices.

  5. fed-up with brighton politics Reply

    Re Valerie’s opinion above.

    Valerie, you are absolutely right about the amazing benefits of Hove and its listed buildings etc. Brighton has a load of those as well. Unfortunately, all the tourism/council people have concentrated on so far has been booze, youngsters, digital enterprise and mayhem. Yes, all that might bring income to the City, but this income is invisible to normal residents (where does it go??), who derive no benefit whatsoever, and council tax just keeps rising.

    I am an incomer to B&H (retreating from somewhere that was very much worse back then – nearly 20 years ago), and for the first few years I adopted and loved this city and its heritage and still do, where the heritage has survived, which it does on the Hove Squares etc as Valerie mentions. These days I just despair about what the council does and is about to do, probably.

    There are many people out there who really appreciate the wonderful heritage assets of B&H (unlike the dysfunctional council of many years and their incompetent leftie agenda).

    So, I have very little hope that, next time round, people will chuck out this appalling council, but I would just like Valerie to know that at least one person totally agrees with her.

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