Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Cabinet is to consider an ambitious 10-year blueprint to propel Southend to becoming England’s number one coastal destination.
Councillors are being asked to comment on the draft tourism strategy, titled “Destination Southend-on-Sea”, which has been authored by Southend Tourism Partnership working with Southend-on-Sea Borough Council.
The document outlines how public and private sector partners across the Borough should work together to further build upon the town’s thriving visitor economy, which supports 6.5k local jobs and attracts over 6m annual visitors.
Key aims of the strategy include:
· Improving communications and marketing, to encourage more people to visit and longer stays.
· Infrastructure – making it easier for people to get into the town and move around different attractions once they are here. This will work alongside the Council’s emerging parking strategy to ensure parking supply and demand are effectively matched.
· Destination development – improving the quality of existing attractions and facilities, making the most of new developments coming online and maximising the opportunities presented within the Leigh-on-Sea and Shoeburyness Coastal Communities teams.
· Events and cultural tourism – further development of the town’s events programme throughout the year.
· Make Southend Sparkle – mobilising local citizens, businesses and volunteers to welcome and assist visitors to the town and act as champions for its visitor offer.
Key partners identified in the strategy include:
· Southend Tourism Partnership
· The Leigh Coastal Community Team
· The Shoeburyness Coastal Communities Team
· The Southend Business Investment District (BID
· Southend-on-Sea Borough Council
Cllr Ann Holland, Executive Councillor for Culture, Tourism and the Economy, said: “This draft strategy presents a deliberately ambitious but achievable way forward for developing the Borough’s visitor economy, from Shoeburyness to Leigh-on-Sea, from our famous beaches to our award-winning parks and historical buildings.
“Southend was built on tourism and this strategy will position the resort for future generations, providing jobs, wealth and an attractive place for all to live, work and visit.”
Jacqui Dallimore, Chair of Southend Tourism Partnership, said: “This strategy sees Southend aspiring to be the best with a strong focus on delivery.
“Success will require willing participation by stakeholders who value the past but look to the future needs of our visitors and how our economy can be stronger with coordinated tourism activity at its heart.
Once reviewed by the Cabinet, the draft strategy will be further developed before being taken through the Council’s political cycle for adoption.