December 2019 -update
Experience West Sussex (EWS)
- Digital Marketing and PR activity: The www.experiencewestsussex.com website continues to be central to programme delivery. 2019 saw a focus on search engine optimisation improvement and thematic content delivery, alongside dedicated social, paid media and PR development. In 2019 annual website traffic grew by 29% from 2018, reaching 96,802 sessions. Delivery of a targeted approach to increase engaged visitors to the website, from our key target segments has resulted in a high referral rate of 20% (20,157) of traffic going through to West Sussex partner websites, tourism businesses, experiences and activities featured across the EWS digital platform.
- International Press Trips: During September, Experience West Sussex hosted two major international press trips. These focused on the coastal area and the heritage & gourmet offer. The Gourmet press trip comprised of writers with a joint circulation reach of over 17 million readership worldwide.
- Business Engagement: EWSP partnered with Visit Chichester and Visit Britain to run training in Chichester, designed to develop online bookability and improve access to international markets. 50 attendees were signed up, using partnership B2B marketing channels. Two more sessions are planned in West Sussex in 2020 in other parts of the county.
Experience West Sussex marketing
For 2019, the digital marketing messaging has focussed around ‘Discover your West Sussex’, encouraging our target audiences to find and explore something unique to discover within the county around either active breaks or cultural excursions. We have also promoted an exclusive offer to our audience as a result of working with the Weald and Downland Living Museum.
The Experience West Sussex Partnership has also seen great traction with PR, with a number of international journalist press trips taking place in September and October as a result of our partnering with the England’s Creative Coast and England’s Coast Discover England Funded projects.
July 2019 performance
Source: Visit Britain - 2017 Full reports - 2017 Full Attractions Listing
June 2019 performance
Local food and drink
The Taste West Sussex House of Commons event was extremely successful. The 16 food and drink producers featured at the event all reported the positive impact of being involved through additional sales, profile and partnership opportunities. The Experience West Sussex website saw a threefold increase in hits following the event. We are introducing Gatwick Airport to West Sussex producers. They are particularly interested in stocking local drinks (wine, sparkling wine, beers and ciders).
Work continues with Gatwick Airport to promote West Sussex producers prior to a Meet the buyer local food and drink event planned to take place in Crawley in September.
Experience West Sussex Partnership
The Experience West Sussex Destination Partnership has launched, with WSCC working with the district and borough councils to support and grow the visitor economy. A Partnership Manager is in post and an action plan for the next year has been agreed.
One of the first opportunities has been to take part in the new ‘Gateway Gatwick’ project. This is a chance to market the West Sussex offer alongside that for Kent, East Sussex and Surrey, including through new itineraries to be promoted via Gatwick’s marketing channels.
Experience West Sussex digital marketing
The 2018 marketing campaign saw an estimated £2.4 million economic impact for the local economy, near 39,000 followers on social media, near 2,000 email subscribers and more than 300 businesses included and promoted in Experience West Sussex activity. The first 2019 campaign launched in March, called ‘Experience Your West Sussex’. This targets young couples and high-spending 50 to 65-year-old’s – focusing on the sense of exploration and wish to ‘discover the undiscovered’. The campaign links with Visit Britain’s ‘micro-gap’ messaging and runs until the end of May.
Further PR and influencer opportunities are being sought in the next few months. A second shoulder season campaign is planned for October to November 2019. Social media, email and business engagement activity will continue between campaign periods.
England’s Creative Coast
A successful business breakfast was held in February to launch the ‘England’s Creative Coast’ project, and was attended by 45 businesses. The Discover England funded project aims to promote the cultural south east coast to international visitors in France and Denmark. WSCC supported the event organisation.
The project finished at the end of March, but efforts are being made to ensure a legacy to the project through other Discover England funding. A programme of networking events for businesses is currently being considered through the Experience West Sussex Partnership.
Advertising Experience West Sussex on fleet vehicles
Design work has begun to cover five WSCC fleet vehicles with Experience West Sussex branding. This follows the success of WSCC electric vehicles being branded with Your Energy Sussex messages. The branding will encourage people to visit the Experience West Sussex website and enjoy days out and new experiences within the county.
Design work to be finished and the vehicles to be ready and unveiled in time for Sussex Day on 16 June.
West Sussex reception, English Tourism Week
WSCC hosted a tourism event on Tuesday 2 April during English Tourism Week at Leonardslee Gardens, for businesses and key organisations in the West Sussex tourism sector. The event also provided the opportunity to introduce the new Experience West Sussex Partnership to those present.
Feedback from the event is currently being collated and this will help to inform ongoing work with the tourism sector.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths)
WSCC has been working in partnership with Coastal West Sussex to support the ‘Full STEaM Ahead’ project to increase STEaM skills careers development in schools and with employers. Funding and opportunities for this area of work are being explored.
Work continues with partners on the STEaM countywide strategy and programme. Also to link this area of work with related projects such as the creative and digital sector.
The Central Sussex and South Downs & Coastal Plain Local Action Groups have committed £2,532,077 to fund 72 projects supporting the rural economy and communities. The projects will create at least 89.5 FTE jobs. Find out more.
The two Local Action Groups still have around £380,000 to commit to projects. It is aimed for all funds to be committed by the end of September. All LEADER funded projects must be completed and grants claimed by December 2020.
SPARK social enterprises
The WP2 Accelerator Programme has now completed. The successful programme is currently being evaluated with the help of 25 social enterprises that have benefited from the project. The modules of support for start-ups are complete and about to be launched. The Innovation Network now has more than 300 members.
Events are being planned for start-ups and support organisations. A network will be set up for the action plan stakeholders and progress on the action plan will be monitored.
December 2018 performance
The annual Experience West Sussex marketing campaign concluded in 2018 with the Winter campaign, focused on Arts, culture, heritage and gardens, featuring a number of galleries and museums. Results will be available in the coming months, but are initially promising, with social media followers having increased to nearly 37,000. An Economic Impact Assessment for the 2018 campaign is underway, and has had a good level of response.
The ‘England’s Creative Coast’ project, working with partners in Kent and East Sussex to promote the cultural offer of our region to international visitors is progressing well, with many a number of attractions featured including Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, and Arundel Castle. International promotional activities will be taking place early in 2019.
September 2018 performance
The new Experience West Sussex website was recently launched in July, and content is now featured across eight different themes to market the West Sussex offer to visitors. Museums and theatres are promoted through the ‘Art and culture’ theme, and specific events are listed through the ‘What’s on’ page. The website features over 300 businesses, and includes a number of museums and theatres, including the Weald and Downland Living Museum, The Capitol Horsham and the Ropetackle Arts Centre. The Winter Campaign, launching in October, will be focused around the ‘Art and culture’ and ‘Heritage and gardens’ themes, and museums and theatres will be featured through our social media platforms, which have over 35,000 followers, display advertising, e-newsletters, itineraries and press releases.
We are involved in ‘England’s Creative Coast’, an ambitious cultural tourism project led by Turner Contemporary and Visit Kent which aims to increase tourists to the coastal region of the South East (Essex, Kent, East Sussex and West Sussex) by promoting the exceptional art and cultural visitor experience. We are working closely with our partners Pallant House Gallery and Cass Sculpture Foundation to promote West Sussex through this project.
July 2018 performance
The latest survey results for 2017 are now available from Visit Britain. Twenty attractions in West Sussex took part in the survey and the latest results show a total of 3.7 million visitors to West Sussex. This compares to 1.9 million in 2016. The steep increase is mainly due to the inclusion of Chichester Harbour visitors in the 2017 results, of which there were 1.5 million visitors to Chichester Harbour.
Quarter 1 - June 2018
The County Council is working with its partners through Experience West Sussex to promote attractions and activities to residents and visitors, including through marketing campaigns. The county’s museums and theatres are featured in the web site, social media and other marketing activities.
This measure is taken from the Visit Britain website (see link below) who invite all English visitor attractions to take part in an annual survey recording visitor numbers and entrance fees.
List of museums in West Sussex
Theatres in West Sussex