Latest Figures Show Brighton & Hove’s Tourism Sector Going From Strength to Strength

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Latest figures released by Tourism South East show that Brighton & Hove attracted a total of around 11,234,000 visitors in 2016, an increase of 6.4% on 2015.

On a regional and national level, the overall picture shows that Brighton & Hove is performing very well, while England saw visitor numbers increase by 4%, the South East, overall, recorded a decrease of 2%. The 6.4% increase in our seaside city shows that it is outperforming competitors and is cementing itself within the national and international imagination as one of the UK’s top destinations for a holiday, city-break, or day-trip.

The total expenditure by visitors to Brighton & Hove is estimated to have been in the region of £885.9 million in 2016, an increase of 3.2% compared to 2015. With so much potential expenditure being drawn to the city, it is no surprise when we see the continued fortification and growth of hospitality and leisure industries within Brighton & Hove, nor that the city’s entertainment industry continues to go from strength to strength booking bigger and better headline acts, and steadily improving the opportunities to reach larger audiences that smaller acts are successfully seizing upon.

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

The number of overnight stays in the city showed the biggest increase at 1,607,000, just over 10% up on 2015.  Domestic visitors were shown to be the group that had contributed most to this growth with almost 15% more overnight trips made by UK travellers compared with 2015 figures. This is no wonder. We have reported on the boom in private short-stay accommodation in the city a few times, and more broadly the likes of AirBnB have hit the headlines all across Europe as landlords capitalise on the increased demand for independence and immersion that tourists want on their city-breaks.

But the negative consequences of such changes in tourism patterns are also being brought to the forefront of residents minds who are seeing the transformation of local communities into large and hollow tourist spots. The incessant rolling of suitcase wheels over cobbled streets is something that residents of once quiet provinces of Amsterdam bemoan, and they lay the blame at the feet of AirBnB.

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

A bustling Gardner St in the heart of the North Laine
A bustling Gardner St in the heart of the North Laine

Commenting on the figures, chair of BHCC’s Tourism, Development and Culture committee, Alan Robins 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 & 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.”

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Howard Barden, head of the council’s tourism arm, VisitBrighton, added: “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 BAi360 and Zip Wire help to keep our visitor offer fresh and drive our visitor stats in a positive direction.”

About Tourism South East (TSE)

TSE, the body responsible for conducting this study, is a not-for-profit organisation with a mission to provide services and expertise that support the performance and growth of tourism businesses and destinations. Services provided include: domestic and international marketing campaigns, PR and web promotions, training courses, research and visitor information services, networking opportunities and advocacy.

The Economic Impact of Tourism Brighton & Hove 2016 report was prepared by Tourism South East (TSE ). To ensure a statistically accurate model, the methodology used to collect data for both domestic day visits and overnight stays in 2016 has changed from the methodology used in previous years so although links in the report have been made in order to provide some broad comparisons, caution should be used when interpreting any direct year-on-year comparisons.

The Economic Impact of Tourism Study, Brighton & Hove, 2016 can be viewed here

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