I’m so proud to live in a district that, in my view, is booming.
We all know the high street is going through a tricky time – we can’t miss it – and no doubt this Christmas stories of struggling retailers will be splashed across the news. But take our fabulous city centre, with over 190 independent shops, big brands and a thriving calendar of events, and you could be mistaken for thinking we’re living in better economic times than many of our neighbours. Yes, there are empty stores and shopping habits are undeniably changing, but we need to stay positive and look at the bigger picture. Chichester District Council’s new pop-up shop initiative is a great example of how Chichester is evolving with the times, to remain a destination to attract people from near and far.
It’s a similar story in our towns; Midhurst has more independent shops and cafes than any other Sussex town, Petworth draws in crowds for its arts and antiques, Selsey’s passionate community works tirelessly to support local businesses and it’s also a similar story in East Wittering with its hub of independent retailers.
But success has only happened, and will only continue, by working together. No longer can businesses promote only themselves, their own events and their independent campaigns. Take the ‘Chichester Summer Street Party’ for instance, a great example of how Chichester BID, Chichester District Council, local businesses, entertainers and food providers all pulled together, with a big dose of positivity, to create something unique – I don’t think I’ve seen such crowds flock to the city centre in the evening for years! Likewise, the local businesses who got involved in our recent autumnal ‘Chichester Walking Weekend’ reaped the benefits – as did the High Street – similarly to those who took part in the national ‘English Tourism Week’ campaign this Spring.
Perhaps we need to take another look at who we view as competition, and instead think about collaborating to achieve mutual goals. Here at Visit Chichester we’re working closely with Chichester BID, Chichester District Council, independent businesses, charities, big brands, town councils and many others to improve the tourism economy for all, and we need others to do the same. By forging these connections and pooling resources, we can bring so much more to the shopper and visitor than just a single offering, which can also be replicated online to maximise their experience of our fabulous city centre.
Destination Marketing Executive – Visit Chichester
Chichester BID Partner