New ‘welcome to Eastbourne’ sign draws criticism for lack of other languages

New signs for Eastbourne have come under fire from residents (Photo by Jon Rigby)
New signs for Eastbourne have come under fire from residents (Photo by Jon Rigby)

New signs welcoming people to Eastbourne have come under fire for not having a range of languages on them like before.

Seen at the sides of the roads as people drive into the town, the old signs said welcome in French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, and Italian.

But the council has defended the new signs, which say, just in English, “Eastbourne, breathe it in. Welcome to the sunshine coast.”

Resident Ruby Rhys-Liddiard said, “I used to love the old one that welcomed visitors in so many languages but it has been replaced.

“I have no issue with the signs being updated or the general design, but it’s the absence of the welcome in other languages that I find disappointing.

“Especially at a time of great division within the UK following Brexit, I think this is insensitive, especially for a tourist town with many residents who may not have English as a first language.”

Eastbourne Borough Council lead cabinet member for tourism and enterprise, Councillor Margaret Bannister, said, “Eastbourne’s brand new resort signs follow current trends in tourism signage, where a bright and welcoming image says more and translates better than words ever could.

“Our research shows that major destinations and holiday brands now keep their welcome signage vibrant and simple, for the greatest impact.

“The previous Welcome to Eastbourne signs date back to the 1980s when Eastbourne’s overseas visitors mainly originated from a small group of European countries.

“Such is the change in global travel now, that Eastbourne attracts a wide and diverse range of nationalities, meaning that translating for so many would be cluttered and ineffective.

“Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre is the most popular stopping off point for overseas visitors, most of whom actually arrive by train, with our award-winning staff – known for their warm welcome, catering for a range of languages.”