ROCKETING tourism has made Brighton the tenth most popular place for UK ‘staycations’ for Britons who spend an average of £405 on each visit.

A report by Travelodge of 3,000 people found 68 per cent of Brightonians also like to take a staycation, with London, Cornwall and Liverpool their favourite places. Tourism chiefs credit year-round events, festivals and marketing. Nick Mosley, of Brighton and Hove Tourism Alliance, said: “It is brilliant news.

“There are challenging times ahead for the funding of tourism services and we must look at new ways to secure an improvement of the visitor experience in the public and private spheres.”

Councillor Geoffrey Bowden, of Brighton and Hove City Council, said: “We have certainly benefitted from the growing popularity of the staycation.

“The council’s official tourism unit VisitBrighton works with 400 partners promoting the city’s attractions, running press trips and campaigns, gaining coverage in national publications, and publishing the mini rough guide.”

However Max Leviston, general manager of the Sea Life Centre, said visitors do not return due to traffic and parking chaos.

He said: “Our research shows clearly that although we are enjoying a new audience in the city, the percentage that return regularly is reducing.

“Extortionate car park prices, ridiculous traffic congestion and interrupted rail network links at weekends and holidays are all cited as reasons for never coming back to this wonderful city. It is understandable that council resources need to be prioritised in education, housing and health care, but tourism needs a greater contribution.

“The closure of its Visitor Information Centre and its refusal to explore the benefits of a destination marketing organisation demonstrates where this current administration prioritises tourism, and this simply is not acceptable if we want the staycation market to keep growing.”