Concerns tourism offering means Bognor is ‘left behind’

The current tourism service at Place St Maur is self-service and only open on weekdays
The current tourism service at Place St Maur is self-service and only open on weekdays

Interactive screens, student ambassadors and even a Bognor ‘app’ were among the suggestions given to help boost tourism in the town.

However, the comments, at the regeneration sub-committee meeting last Monday, came coupled with concerns over a lack of resources and a need to ‘think conservatively’.

Councillors also called for a dedicated visitor service to be provided at weekends, something Margaret Murphy, Arun’s tourism business development officer, said ‘there isn’t the demand’ for.

Councillor Paul Wells said: “Arundel has it and so does Littlehampton, which leaves Bognor behind. There are different ways of doing it.”

One option which arose in the discussion that followed was that the Alexandra Theatre could be used to supplement the weekday self-service offering at the Observer offices.

Regis Centre trustee and councillor Pat Dillon said ‘when it is open we are there to help as much as we can’ but highlighted that it is often closed on Sundays.

Ms Murphy spoke of ideas to have interactive screens around the town and to work with students from the university to act as guides – but added it had been ‘a slow one to get off the ground’.

The latter gained support from councillor John Charles, who said: “We did it with them in Horsham out on the high street and people would ask them questions – it worked rather well.”

More prominent information stands were deemed ‘essential’ by chairman Phil Hitchins but councillor Trevor Bence said: “To me it seems ridiculous that we are talking about leaflets in a digital world.”

Mr Wells echoed this, urging the council to consider utilising Facebook more.

However, Denise Vine, Arun’s group head of economy, warned about the resources.

She said: “Tourism is not a statutory service so it can be chipped away at.

“You can say new ideas, which I welcome, but Margaret, as far our resources goes, is all we have left.”

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