Brighton sets out blueprint for recovery as huge visitor numbers are predicted

Brighton recovery blueprint - huge numbers expected
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Caught wanting by the surge of visitors flocking to its coastline last summer, Brighton and Hove Council has gone about reopening its £976m visitor economy with both vision and an eye to detail.


Brighton and Hove Council has allocated a £1m budget to ensure that the city can manage the easing of lockdown measures and facilitate the strategic vision outlined in the document Covid-19 Road Map Out Of Lockdown: Managing The City Safely and Outdoor Events Programme 2021.

The document, which was debated by the Policy and Resources Committee, acknowledged Brighton and Hove’s status as a leading destination which welcomes 12 million visitors a year, supports 24,000 jobs and generates an estimated £976M annually.

It stated: “The city council recognises the importance of supporting our businesses in the visitor economy to recover as quickly as possible and it is recognised that this summer will be an important step in this recovery. The aim is to welcome people back, but only when it’s safe to do so, making sure that the city provides a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.“

Anne Ackord Brighton Pier Group
Anne Ackord Chief Executive, Brighton Pier Group

Brighton Pier Group chief executive Anne Ackord underlined the importance of a planned approach and the size of the opportunity facing the city. She told The Argus newspaper: “This past year has been a long and difficult road for our city and its tourism, hospitality and events businesses. All the signs are that our visitors will be returning in huge numbers over the summer and this is an amazing opportunity to showcase our city to visitors who may not usually visit, preferring holidays abroad. It is critical that our city is ready to welcome everyone with the highest standards of presentation and an exciting calendar of events.”

A multi-agency approach led by Brighton & Hove City Council, the police and other partners will draw on the experience of summer 2020 when the city struggled to cope with additional visitor numbers after the first lockdown was lifted. The report stated: “The aim will be to ensure a planned approach to managing the city’s infrastructure and operations to deal with the extra demand summer will bring. This will enable a safe and managed approach to welcoming visitors back to the city, so our businesses, that rely heavily on tourism, can thrive and the recovery of the economy can be supported.”

A multi-agency approach will operate from April to September. The City Coordination Group will meet on a weekly basis to review the management of the city. It will consider information that will help to plan ahead, such as forthcoming outdoor events, unplanned events, latest Covid-19 data, weather forecasts, tide times and sea conditions. The group will also work with transport providers to identify any potential increase in visitors, ensuring targeted messaging is in place to make sure those coming to the area are aware of the behaviours expected of them.

In terms of practical initiatives, the City Coordination Group will put in place and manage the provision of enhanced businesses support to assist the safe opening up of the local economy, provide training for businesses in public facing sectors of the economy on Covid safe practices, enlist additional Environmental Health Officers, prepare for the return of visitors through the industrial jet-washing of main thorough fares, deliver additional waste collection services along the seafront, expand the Covid Marshalls team and recruit a full lifeguard service to support sea safety along the seafront.

As well as looking into methods of coping with incoming visitors, the council is also assessing the feasibility of hosting events in the city as the government’s road map to lifting lockdown restrictions develops.

The report confirmed: “The messaging from the City Council will be that we want to welcome responsible visitors back to enjoy our city and Covid prevention is at the heart of our approach. Visitors that treat the city with care, behaving responsibly and in a Covid safe way are welcome and will play an important part in the city’s recovery.”

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