The visitor economy
Brighton & Hove usually welcomes up to 11 million visitors each year and tourism brings an estimated £850m to the local economy annually.
The city is renowned for its year-round programme of events and festivals that draw in crowds whatever the British weather throws at it but of course, with the Covid crisis, this year is very different.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the government restricted all non-essential travel and businesses were told to close. Clearly this had a profound effect on a popular tourist destination like Brighton & Hove and dealt a crushing blow to hospitality businesses and the local economy.
As we now move through the recovery phases, we have an opportunity to re-set the city, examine our priorities as a council and support our residents, businesses and visitors in shaping a healthier, stronger and safer city, fit for the future.
Welcoming our visitors back
Since 15 June, our retail sector has begun to open up and from 4 July our hotels, restaurants, bars and many attractions will return.
Visitors are a valued part of the city’s vibrant make-up and contribute hugely to the city’s diverse personality and year-round buzz. We are looking forward to welcoming them back!
We are working with businesses to reassure residents and visitors that our hospitality sector is committed to high standards of hygiene and safety.
Many businesses are busy re-painting, refurbishing and making adaptations to their premises in readiness for reopening on 4 July.
For all of us, wearing face masks in public places and inside shops is recommended and on public transport is mandatory for everyone who is able to do so.
Supporting the city to reopen safely
We’ve introduced a range of measures to support our city businesses reopen safely, including widening pavements to allow safe physical distancing, closing roads and expanding our cycle lane network to accommodate healthier travel.
We’ve also installed new signage to ask people to help us keep the city clean and tidy by using the bins provided or taking their litter home with them.
These measures will also help our residents and visitors to move safely around the city and enjoy our shared public spaces.
Creating more space for people to visit shops, particularly in narrower parts of the city like the Old Town and North Laine is important and we have installed new signage, including street stencils, to remind people to give space and stay safe.
We’ve also employed stewards to manage overcrowding on the central beach area at busier times. Brighton & Hove has 12km of beach for us all to share, so if you see the beach is crowded, please move along to a less busy part.
We all have a duty to support the city to be Covid-secure and physical distancing is still key to slowing the spread of the virus.
Although government is relaxing the physical distancing rules from 4 July, the guidance for when we’re outside our homes still recommends that we should maintain a two metre distance if we can, and this should only reduce to at least one metre when this isn’t practically possible.
Physical distancing is guidance and not regulation. The emphasis is on individuals to take personal responsibility for following government guidance and we do not have any powers to enforce it.
I’m proud that, as residents of Brighton & Hove, we have helped to reduce the transmission of Covid-19 through our actions.
It is up to us all to continue to behave responsibly and respectfully in public places now more businesses are starting to reopen their doors. We do not want to experience a second wave of the virus that threatens people’s lives and damages our local economy even further.
A sustainable city
We are working together with our communities and partners to build a better Brighton & Hove and health and wellbeing will be at the heart of our economic recovery plans.
Climate change continues to be part of a bigger and pressing picture. We have committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2030 and we will continue to review how we travel into and around the city in a bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve this target.
We are Brighton & Hove
Kindness, consideration and patience will become even more important for us all as we move forward together to build a healthier, stronger, safer city.
I’m looking forward to welcoming our visitors back, seeing the city come to life and once again becoming the open and welcoming place we are best known for.
Councillor Nancy Platts
Leader of the council