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Eastbourne Outshines the South East with Record Visitor Spending

22 Oct 2018

Tourism industry research just released, shows that Eastbourne outperformed the region across the board last year with record visitor spending throughout 2017.


Red Arrivals by Matt Kuchta

Continuing to attract 5.1 million visitors per year, despite a significant regional downturn, the annual research report conducted by Tourism South East, shows the town also increased its overnight visitors with people staying longer, representing a 9% increase in bed nights.

Coupled with a 3% increase in visitor spending overall, the value of tourism to Eastbourne is now worth £465 million per year, the highest ever recorded for the town.

The results are particularly impressive as the research reports that the UK saw a 3% drop in visits in 2017 and the south east reported a 13% drop in visitor spending.

Eastbourne Borough Council Lead Cabinet Member for Tourism and Enterprise, Cllr Margaret Bannister said “2017 was a difficult year, in view of a tightening UK economy, however I am delighted to see that Eastbourne continued to shine brightly bucking both regional and national trends.
We’ve been working with our local industry to attract new business and last year we included some key campaigns, including the final phase of our Pier grant funded digital marketing initiative, targeting off-peak stays.

This, coupled with a London Underground airshow poster campaign last summer, promotion at a European travel exhibition and record attendance at the International Tennis and Beachy Head Marathon, meant Eastbourne actually grew its visitor economy at a time when the region saw a considerable drop.”
Overnight stays continue to see strong growth, particularly amongst overseas visitors, with a substantial 17% increase. Staying on average 6 more nights and spending 169% more than UK visitors, the overseas visitor economy is proving to be a fast growing sector for Eastbourne, having expanded by more than two-thirds in the last eight years.

The impact of the visitor spending growth now means 9,632 jobs in Eastbourne’s economy are tourism supported, its highest level since research began, accounting for almost a quarter of all local employment.
The Tourism South East study, which examines the volume, value and economic impact of tourism, uses the Cambridge Model, widely recognised throughout the tourism industry and used by regional tourist boards over the last decade.

Using nationwide surveys, such as the Great Britain Tourism Survey and the International Passenger Survey, the report also uses local surveys including room occupancy rates, attraction surveys and retail footfall to generate a computer model of tourism in Eastbourne.

Key statistics from the 2017 report include:
• Total visitors 5.1 million
• Bed nights (includes serviced, non-serviced & group accommodation, second homes, boat moorings, paying guests and staying with friends & family) 2.5 million
• Overseas staying visitors 96,000
• Overseas visitor spending £58 million
• Total visitor spending of £357 million, which includes:
o Food & Drink £120 million
o Accommodation £69 million
o Shopping £58 million
o Attractions/entertainment £50 million
o Travel (spent within the town) £61 million
• Tourism supported jobs 9,632
• Total value of Tourism £465 million

To view the full report visit

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