The Tourism Advisory Board (TAB) has come to the end of its two-year period with no clear solution for a sustainable future for tourism in Brighton.
TAB was established at the beginning of 2014 to guide and advise VisitBrighton (VB) and Brighton & Hove City Council on the development and implementation of a sustainable tourism strategy.
The voluntary board was composed of twenty-five members from local Tourism related businesses, and three locally elected cross-party Councillors.
During its two-year term, the Board and its sub groups met on a number of occasions to discuss ideas and suggestions.
One of the main benefits of the Board has been the coming together of all the main tourism bodies and interests in the City to have a better understanding of each other and the challenges and opportunities facing the City. Brighton Pride who organise the biggest event in the city bringing in 100,000 visitors to the city over a single weekend, benefitting hotels and restaurants, were not invited to participate.
However, TAB recognises a need to continue conversations with key tourism stakeholders, councillors and council officers.
To this purpose, even though TAB came to an end following its last meeting on November 16, it has been agreed that there will be two organised events a year for the tourism sector to get together and discuss industry developments and major city developments.
The future of VB and finding the best model for tourism going forward has been central to their discussions. Among other things VB offers the latest official Brighton tourist information and Brighton tourism guides.
TAB worked with the Council to commission an independent Review of Tourism Services which recommended creating an arm’s length body independent of the council. Research into options for outsourcing as a standalone or sharing with an existing organisation followed.
However, it became clear that with the current structure within VB, a stand alone version would not survive without Council funding. For the same reasons outsourcing to an existing organisation is not an option.
At the current time, Council funding for the future of tourism has not been defined enough to proceed with alternative investigations but tourism leaders with council members will continue to look at options recognising the importance of tourism to the City both for the local economy and job creation.
Until the position on future Council funding is clear, no immediate decision can be taken and TAB recognised that all the tourism bodies will continue to work with VB until a more financially realistic model can emerge which has the support of all involved in the City’s tourism industry.
TAB was chaired by Glynn Jones, a former Chief Executive of Brighton & Hove City Council.
Brighton & Hove was the only UK destination included in the category for the top ten destinations ‘on the rise’ in the world for 2016, ranking sixth out of 10 on the TripAdvisor website, announced last week.