Plans to promote rural West Sussex as a location to visit for cycling and walking have been unveiled by West Sussex County Council.
Boosting the local economy, particularly the rural economy to help maintain and enhance rural villages and communities, is a priority for the County Council and one of the projects to help achieve this is to promote the West Sussex ‘Beautiful Outdoors’ as a tourist destination.
The first wave of this will see an emphasis on the ‘active outdoors’ including cycling and walking, working in partnership with the South Downs National Park Authority.
The campaign will be led by the County Council and delivered by marketing company McCann and targeted to the London area and the South East. It will promote the natural assets of the county, such as the South Downs National Park, as places for people to visit and stay.
Council Leader Louise Goldsmith said: “The West Sussex economy is one of three priorities areas for us as a council over the next four years, so it is understandable that we are undertaking initiatives to develop and help businesses.
“By investing in a targeted campaign, we can attract people to visit and stay in West Sussex, so boosting the local economy in the short-term, and as a longer-term aim encourage more working age people to relocate to West Sussex to ensure the success of the economy.”
To support the campaign, the County Council successfully submitted a bid to the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership’s Growth Fund Sustainable Transport, for a £450,000 package for enhancements to footpaths, bridleways and cycle routes.
An event with local businesses, including accommodation providers and cycling companies, took place last week to unveil the scheme to them and get their feedback.
Louise said: “It was a real opportunity to engage with businesses and groups to gauge interest and to encourage businesses to get involved with the campaign.
“The event went really well and had many positive responses which was really heartening. We very much look forward to working closely with businesses on this project so we can all get the maximum benefit from this opportunity.”
Reina Alston, Chair of the Mid Sussex Hoteliers Association, said: “I was very pleased to attend the briefing event on the Beautiful Outdoors campaign.
“A number of the hotels who are members of our association are very keen to work with the County Council to make the most of this exciting opportunity to attract more and new visitors to the county.”
International marketing agency McCann has many clients, ranging from global brands to local authorities. Nikki Neale, Associate Director and project lead, said: “The forthcoming campaign is a real opportunity to get a new audience engaged with West Sussex.
“Getting local businesses involved, to bring the campaign to life, is essential to give our new visitors an authentic and exceptional experience.”