Town could see in the New Year with a bang

Eastbourne Bonfire Society parade 2013
Eastbourne Bonfire Society parade 2013

Eastbourne could have its own annual New Year’s Eve seafront fireworks display and party beginning in 2016 as part of Conservative plans to raise Eastbourne’s profile should they win control in May 2015.

The local Tory group aims to copy London’s spectacular December 31 bash as a way of bringing tourists to the town outside the main summer season.

Cllr Philip Ede, the Conservative spokesman for tourism on Eastbourne Borough Council, said, “The council’s recent Visitor Economy Study made stark reading.

“Only four per cent of visitors to Eastbourne are from outside the UK, and only 45 per cent are from outside Sussex.

“It is clear that ways must be found to put Eastbourne on the map. I want to add to the town’s portfolio of high profile events, namely the International Tennis in June and the Eastbourne Air Show in August, by including a major winter event, to help counteract the effects of seasonality, and provide a further ‘hook’ on which to market Eastbourne.

“I believe that a fireworks display and New Yea’rs Eve party on the seafront could establish itself as a popular event that could draw people from far afield.

“We have an advantage in that the layout and structure of our seafront lends itself to spectacular events, and people can gather without feeling hemmed in, and without the transport and accommodation nightmare of a trip to London.

“Tourism is responsible for the employment of 7,500 people in this town, so it is essential we do all we can to promote it.

“This would not be a prohibitively expensive event to establish, and some, if not all, of the outlay could potentially be recouped through sponsorship and trade stands.

“This event would form part of a number of initiatives and new attractions to draw in people from far afield who aren’t normally interested in coming to Eastbourne, who would come to identify Eastbourne as a place to have fun.”

• Tell us what you think – is the plan a good idea? What else could the town do to attract tourists during the quiet season?