What is the Sussex opportunity?
Sussex is a known brand for consumers, but a compelling Sussex story to fully engage market interest is missing.
The scale of opportunity is reflected in the data:
- Staying visitors (UK + overseas) account for 11% of visits and 50% of visitor spend
- Overseas staying visitors account for just 2% of visits but 19% of spend
- Overnight business tourism trips represent 11% of total staying trips across Sussex
- The average spend per day by day visitors and per trip for UK and overseas visits is below the England average
Increased partnership collaboration can maximise opportunity growth for Sussex market share around longer staying visitors and overseas visitors. This joint approach will be built on sustainable growth that plays to the natural assets of Sussex, which encourages longer stays for UK leisure visitors, provides creative and productive environments for doing business, and prioritises higher spend international markets arriving on the doorstep.
A better joined-up approach across Sussex provides the opportunity to:
- Create and promote a stronger Sussex narrative at a national and international level
- Campaign in the right places to attract the best value market segments
- Collectively plan for and factor in current and future challenges, offering flexibility in a changing environment
- Bring added value above the activities already undertaken by local destination management organisations and partnerships
- Secure greater value through increasing economic impact and enhancing the quality of jobs in the sector
First steps for the initiative
From an analysis of market trends, feedback from Visit Britain, and insight into what competitors do well, the SVEI have agreed on what are first steps to better collaborative working:
- Market segmentation and Sussex story development
- Sussex MICE development to stimulate a step change in our investment proposition
- Increase the Sussex positioning in the sector and with national bodies
The ambition is to initiate a series of large scale pieces of work to increase the economic value of tourism across Sussex by attracting new funds, targeting specific market segments and enabling effective collaboration between businesses that share a common interest. The Sussex Visitor Economy Initiative work is all about adding value, not about replacing local tourism initiatives, and has an outward focus on securing national and international tourism benefits for Sussex as a whole. Experience West Sussex is a partner in the work, and will be helping to ensure West Sussex maximises the opportunities from the pan-Sussex initiative.
In March 2022 the initial founding partners; West Sussex County Council, East Sussex County Council and Brighton and Hove City Council, in this new collaboration released the following Sussex Visitor Economy Position Statement.