It’s game, set and match to town’s economy

EASTBOURNE is expected to enjoy a £9 million boost to it economy during tennis week.

The figure has been released by Eastbourne Borough Council and is based on last year’s successful tournament.

However, it is thought that AEGON International 2012 will build on last year’s success.

Last year more than 35,800 spectators attended with 5,607 on finals day.

The tournament attracts locals and thousands of visitors from overseas and the council estimates those visitors spend £9 million in the town.

Eastbourne’s hotels are packed with 44 per cent of visitors staying overnight in the town for an average of five days.

Jerome Farrow, who runs the Marine Parade Hotel and is chairman of Eastbourne Hospitality Association, said, “I think almost all hoteliers would say they benefit from the tennis.

“It is a great event for Eastbourne and I certainly hope the town keeps the tournament for many years to come.

“There is a buzz around town during tennis week.”

Darren Weir from the Mowbray Hotel, which is right opposite Devonshire Park, said, “We are always busy because of our location.

“We have some guests who have been coming for tennis week for 20 years.

“They book their rooms a year in advance in some cases.”

Towner’s artistic director Matthew Rowe is also hoping the tennis will have a positive impact on the town’s gallery.

He said, “It’s fantastic to see so many new people visiting Eastbourne over the tennis tournament.

“With Towner situated so close to the action, and working in partnership with the LTA to deliver ticketing services in our exhibition halls, we benefit from increased footfall through the gallery and are pleased to welcome many visitors who have not visited Towner or Eastbourne before – we hope they will continue to return to experience great art once the tennis is over.”

Restaurants, bars, shops and cafes across the town also benefit from the annual tennis tournament.

The publicity for the town is huge with Eastbourne Borough Council claiming the tennis has a media value of £14 million.

Cllr Neil Stanley, Eastbourne Borough Council cabinet member for tourism, said, “Once again we’re delighted to be hosting the AEGON International in Eastbourne.

“It’s a fantastic sporting event that sees some of the world’s top players coming to our town to play on the Devonshire Park’s famous grass courts before Wimbledon and the action is beamed live across the nation.

“The tennis tournament means that our hotels are packed and therefore it’s a huge boost to the town and local economy - and the sun has even come out.”