Bognor on Instagram – £30k social media specialists hired to make district a tourist destination

Thursday, 31 March 2022 07:29

By Jessica Hubbard - Local Democracy Reporter

Marketing and social media specialists will be hired to improve visitor numbers to the Arun area.

Members of Arun District Council’s economy committee approved a ‘tourism marketing campaign’ on Tuesday (March 29).

A total of £30,000 will be spent on social media and marketing specialists in a bid to improve visitor numbers to the area.

This will help the council to deliver a year long ‘destination awareness campaign’ to attract more tourism spend to the district’s main destinations such as Bognor Regis, Littlehampton, and Arundel. The main focus will be on social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram.

Council officers say the spend is necessary as they ‘don’t have the in house skills’ to deliver such a campaign.

The initiative was highlighted in council leader Shaun Gunner’s budget speech in February, when he talked of promoting Bognor and Littlehampton ‘on Instagram’ and the move was largely welcomed by members of the economy committee.

Members welcome plan

Chair Andy Cooper (Con, Angmering and Findon) said: “I actually think that this district has a lot to offer. “We’ve also got the South Downs National Park right on our doorstep.”

Tony Dixon (Ind, Aldwick East) suggested trying to capitalise on views from various webcams which are placed around the district, such as the one on Bognor’s East Beach.

He also called for the project to be kept under review, saying: “Keep testing things- things will fail, things will succeed.

“Roll out the successes and walk away from the failures.”

A future corporate sponsor, such as Rolls Royce, was suggested by Grant Roberts (Con, Arundel and Walberton).

Officers didn’t rule this out but said they had to ‘build a product first’ to entice sponsors.

They added that a digital campaign would give the ability to ‘reach a target audience’ and measure views.

Group Head of Economy, Denise Vine, said the word Arun ‘doesn’t really mean anything to anyone’ adding that any marketing company would have to come up with a ‘creative way’ to promote the area.


“I think it’s very unlikely they will say ‘come to Arun’,” she said. It is hoped the campaign will start ‘as soon as possible’ ahead of the summer season.
Tourism ‘a key sector’

A 2020 report commissioned by the council found that tourism is ‘a key sector for Arun’ that is ‘very important to the local economy’.

Blue Sail Consulting, which produced the report, said tourism should be treated as a ‘priority sector’ going forwards and a marketing campaign was included in its recommendations.

It said ADC’s approach to tourism had been ‘largely unchanged over the last 15 years’, adding that consistent messaging is key in such a ‘fierce market’.

According to the report, tourism brings four million visitors to the district who spend an estimated £221 million. Tourism also brings employment benefits to the district with more than 5,900 people employed in the sector. The Blue Sail report concluded that visitors staying overnight spend more, but Arun attracts over five times more day trippers than staying visitors.

Emily Seex (Arun Ind, River) said: “The biggest obstacle to growing our tourism economy is lack of holiday accommodation. 

 

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