At a packed and lively Bexhill Town Forum meeting last Friday, the town’s MP, Huw Merriman, spoke enthusiastically about the significance of the De La Warr Pavilion in attracting visitors to the town.
Along with other invited speakers, Huw was delighted to be asked to speak to the Forum on the subject of tourism and the big part it plays in the local economy. With Stewart Drew, the CEO of the De La Warr Pavilion, being unable to attend in person, Huw was pleased to be able to deliver some facts and figures and plans for the future to the Forum on his behalf.
Huw said “I am a huge fan of the De La Warr Pavilion who I work closely with each year to deliver the highly successful Bexhill Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair. I was delighted to be able to share some news with the Forum about the Pavilion’s achievements for 2017/18. These included: hosting over 410,000 visitors; selling over 49,000 tickets for 79 performances; holding 46 community events; involving over 7000 participants in learning and engagement programmes and they employed 115 people in full and part-time jobs of whom over 90% live in Rother and Hastings. Their aims for the next four years include growing visitor numbers to over 600,000 each year, improving the visitor experience, increasing income and sustainability and delivering further conservation work to the Grade 1 listed building amongst many others.
“This is an exciting and busy time for the Pavilion who work really hard to deliver a first class programme of visual arts, live performance and learning. Tourism is really important to our local economy. Over £329m is spent in the local area as a direct result of tourism and nearly 8,000 local jobs are dependent on the tourist trade. The De La Warr Pavilion constantly attracts new visitors to Bexhill who then spend money in local shops and services. I shall be working closely with Stewart Drew and his team, who do a fantastic job, to support their ambitions for the next few years which will be good for the local community and local businesses.”