2016 was one of the best years ever for tourism in Hastings, as it marked the 950th anniversary of the battle that has made it the most famous town in the world.
Cllr Kim Forward, lead member for marketing at Hastings Borough Council, explained :- “Tourism is vital for Hastings :- it supports over 5 000 jobs in the town, and generates over £266m for the local economy.
“I am very grateful to our marketing team at the council who work so hard to promote the area. They have recently been congratulated by independent experts Blue Sail as providing ‘some of the best tourism PR in the country’, as well as for their captivating copywriting.
“2016 was particularly busy thanks to the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings and the ROOT1066 festival of contemporary arts. Our PR helped make sure these events captured the imagination of local, national and international audiences and will benefit Hastings for years to come.
“We regularly host visits to Hastings from journalists and travel bloggers, as we find this is more cost effective and has more of an impact than traditional advertising. Many journalists comment that they really enjoy their time in Hastings and add that the variety to be found further afield in 1066 Country makes Hastings very attractive for visitors.
“Extensive UK coverage of Hastings as a tourism destination in the quality and tabloid press included The Guardian, Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, Sunday Mirror, and The Times. We were covered in many overseas publications too, especially in Belgium and The Netherlands where we are extremely popular. And we’ve just struck a deal with EasyJet to publicise the town in their on-board magazine, bringing Hastings to a potential audience of four million passengers.
“Our events posters can be found throughout the year on Southeastern station platforms, thanks to our close working relationship with the train operating company.
“We are represented at travel shows in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, and in January we attended a travel show in the Netherlands which had over 100 000 visitors. Being able to provide our brochures in Dutch was an important selling point for visitors to our stand.
“We send out monthly e-newsletters to our database of over 38 000 people, and have nearly 12 000 followers on Facebook and Twitter. And our website visit1066country.com had an average of 45 000 unique visitors per month in 2016.
“No wonder tourism is booming here in Hastings!
“We’re very grateful to all of the tourism businesses and event organisers who make Hastings such a great place to visit. And we are always happy to talk to businesses wanting us to help promote what they have to offer to visitors, they should contact us at email@example.com”