LOCALS and day trippers are spending longer than ever before at the i360 despite British Airways’ announcement it was to end its backing of the visitor attraction.

The 530ft Brighton-based structure is seeking a new sponsor after the airline announced it would not be supporting the attraction once naming rights expire in November.

Despite the tower failing to meet visitor targets and having made a £5 million loss in the year ending June 2020, guests are spending longer at the venue than ever before, according to i360 head of marketing and trade sales Anna Prior.

A total of 195,754 people visited the i360 in that period - half the predicted target of 390,000. 

But Anna said the lack of international tourists is helped by local residents and day trippers to Brighton.

“Guests now spend longer at the attraction enjoying the whole experience from the flight on the pod, the exhibition, a meal in the restaurant or our cafe,” she said.

“Our team has adapted swiftly and effectively to the challenges of Covid.

“Naturally, we have implemented many new measures to keep visitors and staff safe but also ensured that our team don’t lose sight of the fact visitors are here to have a great experience not to dwell on Covid.”

The Argus: The i360 in Brighton The i360 in Brighton

Looking ahead, Anna said the i360 is constantly looking for ways to adapt and improve the experience for customers.

“Post pandemic, creating shared memories with loved ones has become more central to people than ever,” she said.

She said this will translate into more offerings so visitors can have a “longer and richer experience”, including meal packages.

She added: “Appealing to new audiences is key for visitor attractions to thrive and implementing new experiences within an existing attraction achieves this goal.

“Watch this space for new experiences coming this year.”

Announcing the split last week, chief operating officer of Brighton i360 Ian Hart said: “We have enjoyed a really successful partnership with British Airways since Brighton i360 opened in August 2016.

"The globally recognised BA brand helped to catapult Brighton i360 on to the international stage from the very beginning.

"Due to this positive relationship, British Airways extended the original sponsorship term of five years back in August 2021 for a further 15 months.

"We have now agreed a completion date of November 3, 2022.

"We are excited about the next chapter for Brighton i360 and what a new sponsor might hold in store for us as one of Brighton’s major tourist attractions.”

Last month, a report to councillors revealed that the i360 is expected to miss another £1.5 million repayment to Brighton and Hove City Council at the end of next month.

Hamish McVey, head of brand and marketing at British Airways, added: “We are proud to have been the first sponsor of the i360 and we look forward to seeing it continue its role as a key tourist attraction on the south coast for years to come.”