Tourism chiefs are looking for private funding to promote the city.

Brighton and Hove City Council is looking at the possibility of part-privatising the work of its tourism arm.

A Suffolk-based consultancy, Stepping Out, has been hired to draw up proposals for a Destination Management Organisation which will market the city’s attractions.

The council’s budgeted net expenditure on delivering tourism services, including the work of VisitBrighton, was £10,895,000 in 20011/12.

The director of Stepping Out, Craig Dearden-Phillips, will meet with council figures and members of the Tourism Alliance including the Brighton Hilton Metropole, the Brighton Fringe and the SeaLife Centre on December 3 to discuss the plans.

Guy Hilton, general manager at the Brighton Hilton Metropole in Kings Road, said he was in favour of a public-private initiative.

He said: “We must make sure whichever funding model we choose has longevity. I worked closely with Newcastle Gateshead Initiative (NGI) in the north east so I appreciate how a combination of funding from both public and private sectors has benefits and drives awareness of a region.”

Julian Caddy, managing director of the Brighton Fringe, said he would attend the meeting in December. He said the input of private business is crucial.

He said: “Those who appreciate what it is like to live or die by the success or failure of a season must be represented in any future marketing body. They are the ones who have been through it. “But I do appreciate that the involvement of the local authority can take marketing to another level. The help of VisitBrighton has been immensely valuable.”

Craig Dearden-Phillips said: “We have got to get the message across that the councils face catastrophic drops in funding but have to maintain politically acceptable levels of services.

“Keeping services in house will not help them achieve that. Social enterprises can be a more cost-effective way of providing those services and that’s what I’ll be trying to explain to the people in Brighton’s tourism industry at the meeting next month.”

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