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England’s Creative Coast

The project will create an innovative new immersive visitor experience driven by world class art, which aims to build the volume and value of visitors to the South East. The project will be managed by the South East Creative Economy Network, with the Turner Contemporary in Margate playing a key role in project delivery.

The project is designed to respond to current visitor behaviour trends and will tap into new markets. This will create a step change for the galleries and the wider tourism sector across the South East.

The project will address the challenges faced by the South East as a destination, as a result of there being no major urban centre, and will build practical and scalable initiatives and interconnections across the South East and beyond. The project will continue to stimulate further innovation and growth beyond the lifetime of the project by delivering:

  • World class art featuring a minimum of 7 art commissions creating a connected South East coast trail;
  • Two itinerary-planning online platforms (one Business to Business and one Business to Consumer) which aim to increase income opportunities for tourism businesses across the South East;
  • A multifaceted international and national tourism marketing campaign;
  • Local engagement programmes capturing a “sense of place” delivered by the cultural partners;
  • Artists “bnb” audit and toolkit;
  • Increased opportunity for spend by new visitors attracted to the Turner Prize (Margate 2019), Folkestone Triennial 2020, Estuary Festival 2020, Whitstable Biennale 2020, and the new National Coast Path;
  • Promotion of sustainable travel and accessibility to visitors, encouraging use of different modes of transport and eco-friendly options as part of their trip, such as bicycle hire and train travel;
  • An iterative learning programme, knowledge sharing events, training and development;
  • An assessment and report on the Volume and Value of tourism activities across the SELEP region and West Sussex. A further report will be produced on current perceptions of the SELEP region with collation of data from existing perception research and some primary research targeted at French and Dutch markets; and
  • Scalable options for Associate Partners to utilise, such as the new geocaching activity.

Predicted visitor growth in East Sussex, Kent and Essex as a result of the project is 3%, enabling 4,700 direct and indirect jobs across the region.


Sector Support Fund

The Sector Support Fund was established to support one-off, discrete pieces of work of a pan-LEP nature with a sector focus that bring demonstrable benefit and which have support across the LEP area.

The SSF used Growing Places Fund (GPF) Revenue Grant to fund a programme of works which supported the sector focused activities being undertaken on a pan-LEP basis and which were predominantly led by the SELEP working groups.

Funding value: £150,000
Total Project cost: £1,179,000
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