BLOG: always possible + the Sussex tourism story
always possible events and facilitation team enlisted to help shape conversations about tourism in West Sussex.
When you think of a holiday in West Sussex, what do you think of?
In Dorset, there are miles of the Jurassic Coast (fossils, dramatic cliff walks, living history); Kent is the Garden of England (orchards, beer, oast houses) and Cornwall is England’s riviera (surfing, pasties, rugged landscapes).
What is West Sussex’s narrative? When you arrive at one of the busiest airports in the world, at the north of the county, what stops you immediately heading for London or Brighton?
When you move beyond political boundaries, and consider Sussex as a whole offer, it could be wine country (Nyetimber, Ridgeview, Tinwood, Rathfinny); the Downs; big culture (Chichester Festival Theatre, Pallant House, Charleston, Glyndebourne, The De La Warr Pavilion); racing (Goodwood, Hickstead, Plumpton, Fontwell); castles (Arundel, Bodiam, Cowdray, Lewes).
£5bn spent each year. 72,000 jobs supported. 62m visitors.
Sussex has an equivalent tourism economy to Iceland.
But what’s the story? Or the hook?
The always possible team have been working closely with West Sussex County Council, Coastal West Sussex Partnership and Experience West Sussex on a series of events, webinars, Ideas Exchanges and a symposium to ask big questions and explore tangible answers.
Our CEO Richard has recently chaired events at Arundel Castle, and at the South Downs National Park visitor centre in Midhurst, to delegates from across the sector – representing everyone from Expedia and Gatwick Airport to Visit Britain, Sussex Historic Houses and Butlins.
Following a reeling two years for the visitor economy, this is a moment to be imaginative about what comes next. Refreshed narratives for people who want more options than flying abroad. A carbon positive plan for getting around, hosting guests and supporting local suppliers. Catching up with the tech revolution in order to make the most of data, real-time booking and augmented tours of where you want to go.
The six key trends dominating tourism do have some overlap with our other sector-based work:
- Sustainability – 76% of people are influenced by businesses which act responsibly.
- Multigenerational travel – what have you got to entertain everyone from kids to grandparents?
- Wellness – people more than ever want to get away from it all – what have you got to help people switch off and relax?
- Maximising behaviour – tourists are more likely to cram as much as possible into one trip – what can you offer which combines multiple experiences into one day? Are there local businesses you can collaborate with?
- Ageing population – boomers are maturing and have money to spend – how can you target this generation?
- Experiential – the trend to pursue real and authentic experiences and support local communities. How can you weave this into your communications and marketing efforts?
(Insights courtesy of Bluesail Consulting)
Is your business making waves in the visitor economy?
Book us for a workshop with your team, and we can help you connect your ideas to the critical conversations.