Gatwick unveils free Experience West Sussex tourism advert site – as new partnership explores how to showcase Sussex and Surrey to the world

16 October 2018

A free promotion site showcasing the rich variety of experiences available to West Sussex visitors was unveiled at Gatwick Airport today by Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council and Stewart Wingate, Gatwick’s CEO.

The site in the airport’s South Terminal promotes Experience West Sussex - a successful visitor marketing initiative led by the County Council - working with a broad range of partners and businesses - that generated around £2million in additional economic value for the local economy and businesses in 2017 alone.

Further sites promoting tourism across both Sussex and Surrey could be unveiled in coming months as part of a package of measures to boost local tourism – following discussions by nine regional partners about forming a new body - the ‘Gateway Gatwick’ group – to help harness the benefits of having the UK’s second largest airport located in the region.

Partners that met included West Sussex County Council, Surrey County Council, Visit Surrey, Surrey Hills, Rural West Sussex Partnership, Coastal West Sussex Partnership, South Downs National Park Authority, Gatwick Diamond Initiative, and Coast to Capital LEP.

Travel and tourism is one of the engines of the South East England’s economy, with international visitors arriving via Gatwick alone spending 9.7 million nights in the region and £1.3 billion in 2017.   In total, over 5.5 million international visitors arrive in the UK via Gatwick each year.

The intention is for the Gateway Gatwick group to share information and co-ordinate and amplify activity to promote the region, with Gatwick Airport also providing insight from and access to overseas partners including airlines and tour operators.  

A detailed plan could be worked up in coming months, but early actions identified at the first meeting include:

-       Gatwick to provide promotional space to help market the region and key attractions to tourists:  The first of these is with Experience West Sussex Council and has been unveiled today in the South Terminal, with additional sites identified in both North and South Terminals for future regional tourism campaigns.

-       Use Gatwick’s customer channels to share tourism information: such as using the airport’s social media and digital channels to promote the region.

-       Collaborating on the development of a targeted marketing campaign: to reach international visitors, encouraging them to visit, and spend more time exploring the region.

Stewart Wingate, CEO of Gatwick Airport said:

“We are proud of the leading role we play in the South East, creating jobs, supply chain opportunities and acting as a gateway to millions of visitors every year.

“Many airport passengers go on to spend time in the South East so it makes perfect sense for those involved in the region’s tourism industry to put their heads together to see how we can help each other. Today’s announcement is just the start and will hopefully grow into a comprehensive set of measures to boost local tourism, which is one of the engines of the region’s economy.”

Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex Council, who today joined Stewart Wingate in unveiling the first promotional advert for the region, said:”

“I'm delighted with the support given by Gatwick Airport in kindly displaying these fantastic images of West Sussex in the arrivals area of the airport, under our Experience West Sussex brand name. West Sussex County Council continues to work with its partners and businesses to promote the county as a boxful of visitor delights providing wide and varied attractions for travellers of all ages 

“We know many passengers arriving at Gatwick head off to London or other parts of the UK without realising just what’s on offer here in West Sussex – and they are missing a real treat. Working in partnership with Gatwick Airport will really help to raise the profile of everything we have to offer from vineyards, art galleries and spa hotels to stunning countryside and coastal areas.”

Andrew Lee, Director of Countryside Policy & Management at the South Downs National Park Authority said:

‘We are delighted to be working alongside our partners to showcase all that the National Park and the surrounding area has to offer to national and international visitors coming through Gatwick, and to bring benefits to the thriving communities in and around the National Park.“

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