Rother bucks national trend for tourism

Battle Abbey gatehouse SUS-140506-084620001
Battle Abbey gatehouse SUS-140506-084620001

Tourism in Rother bucked the national trend last year with an increase in visitors to the district.

Newly published figures from Tourism South East show overnight trips to Rother from UK-based tourists increased by 0.9 cent in 2014 – in stark contrast to a fall nationally of nine per cent.

A total of 431,000 domestic overnight trips were made to the district, resulting in spending of more than £1.5 million – an increase of 1.2 per cent on the previous year.

The number of day trips to Rother increased by 0.9 per cent, with almost six million daytrippers visiting the district, while overseas visitor numbers surged by 9.4 per cent to 58,000 – resulting in a 12.7 per cent increase in spending by foreign tourists.

Tourism is estimated to have generated a total of £292 million for local businesses, supporting almost 7,000 jobs in the district – a 2.3 per cent increase on the 2013 figures.

Cllr Simon Elford, Rother District Council cabinet member for culture and tourism, said: “Tourism is of inestimable value to Rother and these figures show that more people are taking advantage of all the attractions and hospitality the district has to offer.

“Recent improvements to the seafront and town centre, along with the continued success of the De La Warr Pavilion, have made Bexhill a more attractive destination for visitors.

“The mediaeval town of Rye is always a draw and Battle is a world-renowned destination.

“The fact we’ve been able to work with our partners at Visit 1066 Country has been a real benefit in allowing us to position Rother as part of a wider area whose culture and history resonates with visitors from around the world.

“We hope to see similarly encouraging results when the figures for this year become available and hopefully the Battle of Hastings 950th anniversary will make next year a bumper year for tourism.”

Across 1066 Country as a whole, which includes Hastings, Rother and part of Wealden, 953,000 domestic overnight trips were made in 2014 – an increase of 2.1 per cent on the previous year – while overnight trips by foreign tourists increased by 6.6 per cent to 146,000.

The figures for Rother and 1066 Country also bucked the trend for the south east region, which saw a fall in domestic overnight trips of nine per cent.

The reports are available online at www.rother.gov.uk/stats