It's not just our sunny climate that makes our area the ultimate destination for holidaymakers. The most recent statistics show that we have nearly 500 tourism-based businesses that employ over 8,000 people. People come, rain or shine, to enjoy our star attractions such as the Chichester Festival Theatre and Goodwood but there are also lots of other surprises around.
I recently visited Tinwood Vineyard in Halnaker, our very own English sparkling wine producer. Tinwood doesn’t just make some of the best English wine in the country they also offer a new Viticulture tourism experience. You can stay in one of three luxury cabins set within the Vineyard, cycle around and learn about winemaking as you enjoy a sip or two... Not to mention an impressive sauna whose design is inspired by a wine barrel.
This is just one jewel in our crown, but there are so many more. To the north, are the South Downs that stretch for 600 miles of uninterrupted beauty. Spotted with attractions like West Dean College, set in 240 acres of the award-winning gardens where you can do courses in art and design. Or the Weald and Downland open air museum housing more than 50 exhibit buildings spanning over 950 years of architectural heritage.
Over the bank holiday, many people headed south to the sea to soak up the sun. The calm conditions also brought out the paddle boards, kayaks and sailors in our beautiful harbour. We are so lucky to have the best of both worlds: Chichester has kept its unique high street with half of our businesses being independents. Even with pressure building for retailers, we have the fourth most resilient high street in the UK. Up and down the country people enjoyed their highstreets with year-on-year Easter footfall up by 6.5 per cent on Friday and almost 9 per cent on Monday morning.
Our area has so much on offer and tourism is vital to our local economy. The organisation Visit Chichester works to promote tourism in the area. Founded by the late 10th Duke of Richmond Visit Chichester is now backed by Chichester District Council.
Our District Council does a huge amount of work on our behalf and I’m sure visitors have noticed that all around our district there is less litter. That is all thanks to the tireless work of the Council and its members who have made a huge effort to clean up our streets and countryside. Their work keeps Chichester beautiful for us and for everyone who comes to visit!
If you’re free and want to talk about politics, please come along to my next open meeting on Friday 26th April at 7 pm at the Grange Centre in Midhurst.