Tourists flash the cash across the area

THE NUMBER of tourists visiting Adur and Arun has fallen but Worthing is bucking the trend, latest figures show.

Research by Tourism South East shows Worthing was the only area to show an increase in visitor numbers.

The research relates to the 2012 calender year – the latest figures available.

But despite falls in Adur and Arun, tourists spent more across the board.

In Worthing, over 277,000 trips were made to the area, an increase of 3.6 per cent on 2011, with total visitor spend up 8.2 per cent to £62.5 million.

This supported 2,531 jobs in the area.

Worthing Borough Council cabinet member for regeneration Bryan Turner said the results were pleasing, and indicated visitors had more money to spend on leisure.

He said: “The increases are quite substantial. Part of it is business tourism, in which we have lots of people coming over for training, so we have a very healthy mixed economy.

“I think the Olympics was a help to us, with people staying down here. We had family from Scotland stay with us and that kind of visitor is included in the overall figure.”

In Adur, four per cent less visitors from the UK stayed in the area, while foreign tourist levels remained similar.

Domestic visitors spent, on average, £116 per person, up from £104.15, with overseas tourists spending slightly more, too.

Adur District Council cabinet member for regeneration Pat Beresford was ‘unsurprised’ at the findings.

He said: “It is always a disappointment when things are lower but it is not surprising.

“What is important, though, is that we are aware of the issue and attempting to improve it.”

Mr Beresford explained that while Worthing was a traditional seaside town, Shoreham and Lancing had to look at different ways to sell themselves.

He said: “Shoreham now has a really superb range of restaurants, which are bringing in visitors, while Lancing has good family facilities, with a beach and green.”

This month, outline planning permission was granted for a 70-bed hotel, in the Riverbank Business Centre, Old Shoreham Road.

Mr Beresford hoped such projects, should they come to fruition, would help boost visitor numbers.

The proposed E.On windfarm, off the Worthing and Shoreham coast, could also see a visitor centre being built at Shoreham Port.

Similar centres across the country have managed to pull in thousands of extra tourists.

It was a similar picture in Arun, with tourism numbers falling overall.

Overseas visitors increased by 0.5 per cent but domestic overnight trips reduced by 2.4 per cent.

Total visitor expenditure was also up by 2.3 per cent, with the number of full-time equivalent jobs supported recorded at 4,618 – nearly 13 per cent of those in employment across the region.

Arun District Council was unavailable for a comment on the figures.