THE boss of Brighton's i360 viewing tower has come out in support of remaining in the EU.

Chief executive Eleanor Harris claimed leaving would cause huge damage to the city’s tourism industry as she firmly nailed her colours to the Remain mast in warning that Brexit would leave many potential EU visitors less inclined to visit the city.

Ms Harris said: “As an organisation which has been marketing the i360 and Brighton and Hove to international travel buyers, I am a strong advocate of remaining in the EU.

“The EU is by far our most important market.

"Two thirds of all of our international visitors in the UK and Brighton and Hove are from the EU and our most important markets are Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Ireland and Spain."

Ms Harris said that during her 20 years’ experience in the industry, which has seen her work for the London Eye and British Airways, she had seen the huge benefits of EU membership for UK tourism.

She said EU membership had brought many benefits to British tourism including the ability to travel without a visa while the open skies agreement had made it both cheaper to fly to Europe but also made it cheaper for Europeans to fly to the UK.

The i360 boss said Brighton and Hove particularly benefited because of its proximity to Gatwick.

She also pointed to a recent survey of 6,000 international travel buyers by online travel website Travelzoo which found that one third said a Brexit vote would make them less likely to visit the UK as they would feel less welcome.

A Liberal Democrat published report released earlier in the campaign claimed that leaving the EU would harm the city’s £750 million tourism economy and the more than 19,000 jobs it supports.

The report’s authors warned that Brexit could result in higher flight costs and higher mobile data roaming charges putting off some of the 8.5 million annual visitors to the city.

Brighton and Hove City Councillor Tom Bewick dismissed the concerns about Brexit’s impact on the city’s tourism sector and said the claims were just the latest example of Remain scaremongering.

Cllr Bewick said: “This is just another example of Project Fear.

“Travel is a global industry and the price of flights is more affected by changes in the price of oil than the EU or the threat of Brexit, I don’t accept that our tourism industry would be affected.

“In fact our tourism industry has been hampered in recent years because Chinese and Indian visitors find it very difficult to come to Britain and prefer to visit Schengen countries on a single visa.

“It was EU law that the Channel Tunnel operators tried to use to close down the Newhaven to Dieppe ferry service.”