The summer holidays are in full swing and lots of us are enjoying our beautiful area. It is not just us, many people come from far and wide to experience our picture-perfect coastline, historic City and rolling green hills. Tourism is such an important part of our local economy generating over £400 million and making up 14% of the local workforce.
This engine of growth is not only dependent on our natural assets, there is a huge amount of Local Government and business investment which keeps us as a destination of choice. I recently visited Bunn Leisure based in Selsey which has made multi-million pound investments in fantastic new facilities. They offer a wide range of accommodation with 2,500 units on site which are either holiday homes or can be rented out for a week or two. The owner, John Bunn, has just finished building a new clubhouse for holidaymakers which includes a state of the art bowling alley, swimming pool, sports centre, an arcade and even a show bar... He also invests a considerable amount every four years to maintain the beach.
As is often the case successful local business benefit the wider area too, Bunn Leisure employ over 650 staff during peak season, including a handful of apprentices from Chichester College. On a busy weekend they can have as many as 14,000 guests and they work with local restaurants and businesses so that customers have great offers, and local businesses have a steady stream of people coming in. This is often facilitated by their free onsite bus which transports people into town.
I know as locals we often grumble about the worsening traffic and busier highstreets, but we have a thriving busy area because visitors pump money into our economy. Something that is fully encouraged by Chichester District Council and Chichester BID who jointly invest £100,000 every year into ‘Visit Chichester’. A group whose purpose is to promote the area and get more people to come and part with their cash in our shops, pubs, restaurants and hotels.