From the seaside visits of Jane Austen’s Regency world to the gritty streets of crime writer Peter James, Brighton and Hove has proved an endless source of inspiration to novelists.

The city’s rich literary heritage is now to be used, along with the offer of free books, to encourage visitors to the Sussex coast.

Brighton and Hove City Council’s tourism arm VisitBrighton is to launch its first themed campaign to attract trippers this year.

Tales of the City – Literary Brighton will showcase the sites made famous by writers like Jane Austen, whose characters were often visiting Regency Brighton.

Others novelists to feature are Brighton Rock author Graham Greene and modern-day crime writer Peter James.

Tourism bosses are working with organisers of the City Reads initiative, which this year is encouraging as many people as possible to read Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief.

The first 500 people booking accommodation through for stays between March 13 and May 23 – the City Reads period - will receive a voucher to get the book free.

The economic contribution of tourism to the city’s economy was measured at £408 million in 2006, generated by about eight million visitors per year, 6.5 million of these being day visitors.

About 6,100 jobs are supported by the tourist trade.

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