From: Kevin Boorman, Marketing & Major Projects Manager, Hastings Borough Council
As the council’s marketing manager I was naturally disappointed to read Eric Waters’ letter in last week’s paper, suggesting that the council did not have a publicity department. Like Mr Waters I was born in Hastings, and am proud to continue to live here.
I can assure readers that it does, and, indeed, we try hard to ensure that the town and its fantastic events are enjoyed by residents and visitors. In fact Hastings attracts over 3 ½ million visitors a year, and the feedback we get from them is very positive indeed.
We also know how important the tourism sector is to Hastings, it supports over 6,500 jobs in the town, and is worth nearly £350m to the local economy.
We directly run a number of events, such as the three fish festivals, which are extremely popular, and support many, many more, most of which are organised by voluntary groups.
Some of our events attract tens of thousands of visitors, from across the UK and Europe.
We promote the town through a variety of ways, to a number of different target audiences, both in the UK and overseas, including a new tourism website (www.visit1066country.com), a very active social media presence, attendance at various travel shows, poster campaigns, radio adverts, and such like.
Indeed, some of the things Mr Waters reads about are the result of our activity, many others are well publicised by the numerous (mainly voluntary) groups who organise them.
Unfortunately we cannot control what the media choose to print/use, but we do try very hard, and can point to numerous excellent articles that have appeared about Hastings nationally and internationally.
Incidentally, The Source (mentioned by Mr Waters) features in some of these, and attracts thousands of real, and hundreds of thousands of virtual, visitors to its events. And, of course, our 3½ million visitors last year all heard about us!
I can only agree with Mr Water’s final comment that ‘Hastings is not a dozy tin-pot place down on the south coast but a town that has got a lot going for it’ – and we are proud to shout about it!