Chichester has chance to be ‘leading visitor destination’

Overhead view of Chichester
Overhead view of Chichester

THOUSANDS of pounds are being pumped into trying to make the Chichester district one of the UK’s leading visitor destinations.

The potential for the area has long been talked about and the past two years has seen Chichester District Council look at ways it could make the area a better destination for tourists.

On Tuesday, £19,000 was signed off for a research project by cabinet, to go along with a bid for £46,000 from a pooled business rate fund.

This is all with the aim of ‘developing a new strategy for the visitor economy’, according to a report presented before the cabinet.

Last year and this year, a task and finish group has looked at ways Chichester could enhance its standing as a tourism destination.

The council’s economic development manager, Stephen Oates, addressed cabinet.

“The way the task and finish group approached this is that the opportunity is huge and it wouldn’t be a exaggeration to say this area could be a leading visitor destination within the UK,” he told the assembled members.

Liberal Democrat councillor Clare Apel was a member of the task and finish group. “We felt this was an area that had so much potential and wasn’t being exploited as much as it should be,” she said.

Cllr Apel said Visit Chichester was very much involved with the process.

The group has had to operate on a shoestring since its support was pulled by the district council.

The council has hopes of forming a destination management organisation, involving both the public and the private sector.

Chairman of Visit Chichester Andy Clegg said: “We have worked hard to successfully maintain the profile of Chichester as an attractive destination for holidays, short breaks and day trips.

“We know that more could and should be done, so the stronger involvement of the district council, along with funding support, is very welcome. Understanding our visitor profile and looking at effective ways to support the visitor economy is vital, we therefore look forward to taking a lead role in the consultation process, and playing an active role within any new partnership going forward.”

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