A ‘hidden gem on the south coast’

The packed meeting earlier this month
The packed meeting earlier this month

THE Manhood Peninsula is a ‘hidden gem on the south coast’ which creates a ‘unique holiday for visitors’ - businesses with an interest in tourism were told earlier this month.

More than 70 people from nearly 50 organisations and businesses across the peninsula gathered together at the tourism seminar and networking event called: What Makes the Peninsula Special? on Thursday, November 6.

The event was organised by the Manhood Peninsula Partnership (MPP) at Southend Barns, Donnington, and saw Adrian Thomas, RSPB national project officer, compare the area with the north Norfolk coastline, an area renowned for its wildlife and migrating birds, and its unspoilt, open, flat coastal countryside and vast skies.

The Manhood Peninsula represents the only rural coastline left on the south coast and that is what its tourism should focus on, he told attendees.

The peninsula was described as a special and unique environment, whose tourism product has been further enhanced with the opening of the Medmerry coastal nature reserve, by a number of speakers including MPP chairman Keith Morgan, Selsey Town co-ordinator Sam Tate, Southend Barns owner Will Fleming, and Steve Oates, Chichester District Council’s economic development manager.

Mr Tate also added that the Manhood Peninsula was a special place and that locals and tourism businesses needed to work together to create a ‘sense of place’ for the peninsula.

Mr Oates, meanwhile, stressed the need to see the area as a special and valuable component in a wider tourism context that embraced Chichester city, the South Downs and could even extend east to Brighton and west to Portsmouth.

Marketing and co-ordinating a tourism product and strategy for this entire area of the country could make it one of the UK’s premier destinations, he said, pointing out that tourism was Britain’s second most important industry and likely to grow in the future.

Attendees were invited to write comments on what they believed attracted tourists to the area and what put them off.

The area’s landscape, wildlife and tranquillity and its unique location being surrounding by three natural and protected harbours and a coastline were cited by most as its main assets, along with its improving cycle and footpath network.

Among future ideas suggested by delegates was an emphasis on local food, such as the creation of a local food festival, and better and more co-ordinated marketing and branding for the peninsula.