Tourism up for Eastbourne, says holiday study

EASTBOURNE is the second fastest growing seaside resort – and the sixth most popular in the UK.

A new study into coastal towns shows the number of staycations – Brits holidaying at home – is going through the roof, and the Sunshine Coast is one of the main beneficiaries.

The report shows Eastbourne is second only to Whitstable in terms of growth in tourism-related businesses, the number of people employed in the holiday economy and the number of visitors to local attractions compared to the year before.

The overall figure here rose by 11 per cent – topping growth in other Sussex resorts like Brighton, Hastings and Worthing.

Almost five million people flock to Eastbourne every year, swelling the town’s coffers by an estimated £250 million every 12 months.

Many of those visitors are foreign students, but, according to new figures, an increasing number are English natives shunning the Spanish sun in favour of a short spell in the sunniest part of UK.

The local upturn is indicative of a national trend toward seaside chic breaks – with many bed and breakfasts transformed into trendy boutique hotels and attracting more affluent tourists to the coast. Figures show those holidaying in the UK spending 23 per cent more during their stay than last year and that in total resorts has seen 21 per cent more UK visitors staying overnight rather than just enjoying a day trip.

However, there are some traditions that show no signs of abating. Six in ten holidaymakers quizzed as part of the survey said they planned to eat fish and chips during their break and four in 10 said they were looking forward to a stroll on the pier.

In fact, one in three holidaymakers say the traditional attractions at seaside towns was one of the a reason for deciding against travelling overseas.

Eastbourne Borough Council’s head of tourism was delighted with the survey. Councillor Neil Stanley told the Herald, “To hear the news that we are the second fastest growing seaside resort is absolutely fantastic for Eastbourne and testament to the huge amount of work and investment that has taken place over the past few years.

“We have seen the opening of Eastbourne’s award-winning art museum the Towner, been named as the UK’s sunniest place, and encouraged plenty of new investment across tourism; from the opening of new hotels such as the celebrity backed Big Sleep to new attractions including Ride N Joy Quadricycle Hire, Sussex Voyages and Treasure Trails, as well as expanding our bumper programme of summer events.

“With our glorious unspoilt seafront, gateway to the new South Downs National Park, and a growing cultural quarter, Eastbourne is well placed to offer something for everyone. We’re now looking forward to a busy few months ahead with a very special Seth Lakeman concert at Eastbourne Bandstand, some brilliant new shows at Eastbourne Theatres and popular events such as the Beachy Head Marathon and Eastbourne Beer Festival – there are certainly exciting times ahead in Eastbourne.”