West Sussex launches digital skills campaign

8 November 2022 - Visitor Economy Development Partnership delivers over 100k business leads to local tourism and hospitality industry in 2022.

Experience West Sussex Partnership (EWSP), the local Destination Management Organisation, has reported over £109,000 trackable leads from their consumer-focused website to West Sussex tourism and hospitality businesses between January to September 2022, as a direct result of their fully subsidised marketing programme.

Tasked with building business resilience and long-term sustainable economic growth in the sector, the EWSP team have been working hard to promote West Sussex as a desirable place to visit and stay.

The Experience West Sussex website delivers an inspiring shop window displaying the myriad attractions of the area.

Currently the site is fully subsidised and tourism businesses are encouraged to add their listings and benefit from the associated digital advertising, social media and PR that comes with it.

EWSP recently commissioned an economic impact report for the visitor economy of West Sussex which found that in 2021 the sector delivered £1.34bn, welcomed 15.8m visitors and supported 27,000 jobs, which indicated a recovery rate of 42% from 2020 levels. The partnership is currently funded by West Sussex County Council and the county’s district and borough councils.

As well as a dynamic marketing programme, EWSP offer training sessions, networking and partnership opportunities throughout the year. The recent day-long workshop ‘Taking England to the World’, held in conjunction with Visit England, was attended by businesses across Sussex keen to take advantage of tips and advice on attracting international visitors.

The International market has been targeted as a major growth area and, with Gatwick Airport reporting positive news in its half-yearly report in 2022 and a strong return of long-haul carriers on North American routes, there is reason to be positive for solid inbound results in 2023.

EWSP has plans to encourage more international visitors to Sussex, who spend more, stay longer and visit throughout the year, and are working in collaboration across Sussex to make the most of this opportunity.

Jo Williams, manager of Experience West Sussex Partnership commented, “Whilst the Sussex visitor economy has been through the ringer in the last couple of years, there are solid signs of recovery. The short-term operational environment continues to be tough going for our businesses, but EWSP will continue to support through programmes like our 100% subsidised marketing and business support events.”

Jo continues, “Our programmes look to build resilience to weather the storm whilst fostering innovations to capture new and future markets. Across the Sussex tourism landscape, we see exciting investment into our vineyards and especially wine tourism. And 2023 sees the opening of England’s Coastal Path promoted through Year of the Coast 23 activities.”

EWSP are a core partner in the new Sussex Visitor Economy Initiative that is piloting fresh programmes to attract business and incentives markets and the lucrative inbound markets across Sussex.