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Brighton and Hove Council calls in consultants over tourism restructure
Consultants have been hired to try to find new ways to market Brighton and Hove. Suffolk-based consultancy Stepping Out has been brought in to look into how the tourism attractions in the city are marketed.
The council has been ordered by central Government to save £51 million over the next two financial years. Stepping Out bills itself as offering expert and supportive input to local authorities who are considering a “public service spin-out”.
Craig Dearden Phillips, the founder of the firm, said his company had been briefed to provide a report of the future shape and structure of tourism marketing in Brighton and Hove.
One idea is to form a destination management organisation (DMO). It would mean the work currently done by Visit Brighton would be taken on by a private company funded by businesses and the public sector that would be set up specifically to increase tourism.
Coun Kitcat said the move was not connected to the local authority’s need to make savings. He said: “The structure of Visit Brighton is based on a fee-income model so it is not a burden on the council tax payer. “I do not think a destination management organisation is the way forward. I think that businesses are busy – they already have a lot to do.
“I know there has been a lot of debate about the future structure of tourism marketing. I think an advisory board structure is the best way forward. We certainly value the input of tourism businesses.”
Max Leviston, the boss at the Sea Life Centre in Marine Parade, said a DMO structure could benefit the city. He said: “I am fully supportive of the private sector having a greater influence in tourism marketing in the city. But there is no big enterprise to take this on at this time. It’s a gut feeling I have that the money will not be forthcoming from the private sector and we will still need the involvement of the public sector.”
One prominent member of the city’s tourism sector, who asked not to be named, said a DMO structure would help reduce the doubling up of services and allow people to see who was making which decisions.
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