HASTINGS should cash in on its popularity with bikers and go after the so-called round pound, says a man on a mission to boost the town’s tourist profile.
With an estimated 20,000 motorcycle enthusiasts descending on 1066 Country every May Day Bank Holiday, Howard Martin of bike1066 wants the town to embrace the phenomenon for the benefit of the bikers and the local community alike.
He told the Observer: “Many towns of similar size and demographic to Hastings are chasing the hen, stag and pink pounds. With bike1066 there is now an opportunity to nurture the round pound, or discerning motorcycle money.
“Motorcycling has changed – underneath the helmets there are a lot of educated, affluent people who choose to come here every year. It’s not just about the money they spend on the day but the value we can bring if you open up lines of communication.”
Mr Martin has enlisted the support of Hastings Borough Council (HBC) and the local chamber of commerce and is planning two high-profile events. On May 2 there will be a trade show featuring some of the biggest bikers’ brands and a market stretching from the Pelham Place car park to the town centre, and on May 29 there will be a motorcycle-themed film festival at the White Rock Theatre, featuring a gala screening of The Great Escape and a live performance from the band of the Royal Gurkha Rifles, all in aid of Help for Heroes.
Mr Martin added: “Hastings has a fantastic energy, and now we have an opportunity to harness that energy for the very real benefit of Hastings and the surrounding area. bike1066 and HBC are working to develop Hastings into a new kind of motorcycle tourism resort, one that is more about cultural interaction than burn-outs down the prom.
“It’s about a multi-layered approach for a multi-layered market - biking is now as much about wine and cheese as it is about real ale and heavy metal. We want to generate inspiration and aspiration, building confidence in Hastings to project itself proudly.”
Kevin Boorman, HBC’s tourism chief was similarly enthusiastic. He said: “May Day is already one of the biggest events in the town calendar with the Morris dancers and the motor bikes, and if we can bring even more high spending visitors, that can only benefit the economy.”
Visit www.bike1066.com to find out more about the group’s plans.