Brighton and Hove’s tourism performed the best in terms of trips and expenditure despite the regional decline across the South East of England.
New figures released by the Tourism South East Research Unit state the city attracted a total of 10,856,000 visitors (down by 3% on 2016) while total expenditure was down 2% to £837 million.
The city’s total value of trips was up marginally by 1% to £322m and the number of overseas visitors staying in Brighton & Hove rose by 2%, but overall, the region has taken a hit, performing least well on a national level.
Speaking on the city’s tourism performance, Howard Barden, Head of Tourism and Venues, said: “We believe that this is due to the nature and scale of our offer, which includes new attractions such as the BAi360, a comprehensive events programme and a high calibre food, accommodation and shopping offer, which far exceeds that of many of our competitors in the South East.”
Last year, Brighton and Hove hosted a number of conferences, with The Brighton Centre as one of the leading venues accommodating over 18,000 delegates, including the Labour Party Conference, National Union of Students, British Society of Immunology, and UNISON National Delegate Conference.
Mr Barden also added the city also has a strong tourism network in the city led by the council’s tourism arm VisitBrighton which works with over 540 tourism businesses to market Brighton & Hove as a year-round destination.
According to the tourism report, 15.4% of the population are employed as a result of tourism in Brighton and Hove, accounting for over 21,000 jobs.
In light of these figures, Councillor Alan Robins, Chair of Tourism, Development & Growth, said: “We know how important the industry is to so many people, including the businesses that contribute hugely to making the city the popular destination it is.”
Day visits to seaside towns across England have suffered from a 20% decrease in numbers, although the South East region is among the least affected.
Cncllr Robins also said despite Brighton & Hove significantly out-performing in the region as a whole, the lower figures are perhaps an indicator of a tightening economy following the EU referendum and slowing of UK growth.
The full report on ‘The Economic Impact of Tourism on Brighton and Hove’ commissioned by VisitBrighton can be viewed on their website.