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Visitor Numbers Top 5.1 Million in Record-Breaking Year for Eastbourne

8 January 2018

Research just released, shows that Eastbourne enjoyed a record-breaking year for tourism in 2016, topping over 5.1 million visitors, outperforming national and regional growth levels.

Eastbourne Pier By Chris Parker


Conducted throughout 2016 by Tourism South East, the survey revealed a 16% increase in visitor spending with the tourism industry now worth £447 million – it’s highest ever level.

The biggest increase was seen in overseas visitors, with 15% more now travelling to Eastbourne, staying on average five more nights and spending 185% more than UK visitors.

Eastbourne Borough Council Lead Cabinet Member for Tourism and Enterprise, Cllr Margaret Bannister said “2016 was a strong year for tourism in Eastbourne and I am delighted to see that we have far exceeded growth levels across the board, outperforming most of our regional and national counterparts. 2016 was an important year for us as it saw the first of our digital marketing campaigns targeting off peak visits, alongside the launch of a brand new fully responsive website and app. Our representation at overseas exhibitions also played a part in targeting overseas visitors – an important high spend, growing market for us. To see these results have such a positive impact upon our local economy, is hugely encouraging.”

In addition to increasing overnight stays in accommodation, day visits to Eastbourne also appear to be exceeding growth levels, spending considerably more than before, with a 25% increase reported in total.
Food and drink accounted for more than a third of all spending by all visitors, followed by accommodation 19%, shopping 17%, attractions/entertainment 16% and transport 11%.

The impact of the growth now means over 9,000 jobs in Eastbourne’s economy are tourism supported, its highest level since research began, accounting for almost a quarter of the working population.

The study which examines the value, volume 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 2016 report include:
• Total visitors 5.1 million
• Staying visitors 755,000
• Bed nights 2.3 million
• Staying visitors spend £186 million
• Day visits 4.4 million
• Day visitor spend £162 million
• Overseas staying visitors 82,000
• Overseas visitor spending £48 million
• Total spending £348 million, which includes direct spending of:
o Food & Drink £120 million
o Accommodation £61 million
o Shopping £54 million
o Attractions/entertainment £51 million
o Travel (spent within the town) £37 million
• Tourism supported jobs 9,136
• Total value of Tourism £447 million

To view the full report visit

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