Emsworth needs to make more of tourism and would benefit from free car parking, according to the results of a business survey.
The survey was carried out by students from the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy which is attached to Chichester College.
The students spent a day quizzing visitors and traders about their experiences in the town.
Lecturer at the academy Tara Lovejoy said: “If Emsworth could work hard on making its window-dressing attractive all year around, it would really pull customers in more and build on the customer service focus that would make them stay.
“I think they should be promoting themselves more outside the local area.”
The students came up with a list of key focus areas which include: lobbying Havant Borough Council to increase free cark parking to an hour; reinstating the Emsworth Food Festival on a smaller scale; organising more community events, including farmers’ markets; carrying out further market research into a shop delivery service; and carrying out further surveys with Saturday shoppers.
They conducted 90 surveys, 28 of which were with businesses and 62 with residents or visitors.
One of the overwhelming responses (81 per cent) from businesses was for the Emsworth Food Festival to return, but on a smaller scale,
Ninety four percent of businesses agreed or strongly agreed to a need to increase tourism, while 63 per cent of businesses said parking was a major issue within Emsworth.
Out of the businesses surveyed, 27 percent said there was no communication between the EBA and their business. And 33 per cent said there was a lack of events specific to their businesses.
Ninety per cent of the businesses said the events that the EBA had previously run were either good or excellent. And a further 87 per cent agreed more community events should be run.
Some businesses surveyed expressed concerns over cycle racks and lanes in and around Emsworth, as many residents and business owners cycle to work.
Sixty-four per cent of businesses agreed increased advertising opportunities would increase membership to the EBA.
There was a strong feeling (from 94 per cent) that the EBA needed to increase its benefits in order to survive.
The results revealed parking charges had a big impact on footfall, as 75 per cent of visitors spent less than £20 per visit and so any parking charge would be a big proportion of their spend.
Visitors said the main reason for visiting Emsworth was for food shopping and the scenery.
The students presented their findings to the Emsworth Business Association at its monthly meeting at the Brookfield Hotel in Havant Road earlier this month.