Visitor Economy Minutes 14 June 2022

Visitor Economy Minutes 14 June 2022

Meeting details

Visitor Economy Task Group Meeting

Tuesday 14th June 2022, 14:00 – 15:30.  Held remotely via Microsoft Teams

Attendees and apologies





Julie Barker 

Group Chair, Independent Consultant


Anna Salmon

Eastbourne Borough and Lewes District Councils


Caroline Bragg

Employability and Skills Strategy Manager, ESCC


Elaine Remon

Employability Operations Manager, East Sussex College Group


Hend Moussa

Community Manager, The Beacon


Ian Whittle

Partnership Manager, Reed in Partnership/ReStart


Jack Scott

SEND Enterprise Co-ordinator, ESCC Careers Hub


Kevin Boorman

1066 Country Marketing Manager, Hastings Borough Council


Kimberley Bulgin

Culture & Tourism Project Co-ordinator, ESCC Cultural Team


Matthew Scamp

South Coast and East Sussex Manager, National Careers Service (CXK)


Matthew Williams

Institute of Employment Studies


Melanie Powell

Transformation & Regeneration, Rother District Council


Penny Shearer

Business Development Coordinator, East Sussex College Group


Steve Benwell         

Senior Partnership Manager Surrey & Sussex, DWP


Stephen Burkes

Employability and Skills Project Manager, ESCC


Sam Coulstock

Head of Professional Development, Institute of Hospitality


Sally Staples

Cultural Strategy Manager, ESCC


Sara Taylor

Regeneration Officer, Lewes District & Eastbourne Borough Councils



Sue Gothard 

Employability and Skills Clerk, ESCC


Donnalyn Morris

Employability and Skills Project Officer, ESCC




Charlotte Hailey-Watts

Learning & Programmes Manager, Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft


Martin Blincow

Mermaid Inn, Rye  

Actions arising from this meeting

14th June 2022 Meeting ACTIONS


Named Lead

Due by /Status

1.    Send in ideas for using The Beacon by the Task Group

Skills East Sussex

ASAP – please send via

2.    Contact the Careers Hub about various opportunities to engage with schools/colleges


ASAP re Ican 2022



3rd March Meeting ACTIONS


Named Lead(s)

Due by / Status

1.    Follow up with Ioannis Pantelidis about Hotel of Excellence


Update provided at 14 June meeting  

2.    Review potential of including social media posting training for Hosp Rocks (for example - creating attractive photos of food/cocktails/coffee to upload)



3.    National Hospitality Campaign update


Limited info since 6 May launch

4.    To know more or get involved with any Careers Hub initiatives, contact the Careers Hub

MB / Careers Hub

Ongoing, update on the agenda

Welcome (New Members)

Welcome to HM, from Eastbourne shopping centre, The Beacon and SC from the Institute of Hospitality. MS was attending his first Visitor Economy meeting on behalf of the National Careers Service; KB was at her first Task Group in her new role with the Culture team.


Some members including JB would need to leave prior to 3.30pm. SBu agreed to chair the last section of the meeting.

Review of Previous Minutes and Actions

JB stated that since the launch on 6th May, there had been little news on UK Hospitality’s campaign. They are fund-raising. SBe advised there had been a review meeting at national level. Within DWP the intent is to accelerate recruitment as part of the Way to Work campaign. Locally, this builds on ‘Hospitality Rocks’ but is not part of a structured national campaign.


JB noted that the lack of a coherent linked national strategy via Hospitality and Tourism Skills board is a great pity.


No further comments on the previous minutes, minutes of 3rd March 2022 approved.

Future Skills Research (Influence of Net Zero, Digital/Technology, Brexit)

MW opened by explaining that the Institute of Employment Studies (IoES) were asked to conduct research by East Sussex County Council (ESCC). The aim of the research is to help ensure that the Skills & Employment Strategy for the county is

  • Developing the right skills (at the right levels)
  • In the right volumes and places
  • Resilient to future changes – positive and negative
  • And in particular can support the transition to net zero


The IoES are conducting this research for all six priority sector areas.


MW is keen to understand issues affecting Visitor Economy and hear back from the group.  Using the definition of Visitor Economy that encompasses the Arts, entertainment and recreation (what brings people) and accommodation and food (what supports them when they get there) sectors, he highlighted that both are over-represented in East Sussex in comparison with national figures.


  • 5,300 employees work in arts, entertainment and recreation, accounting for 2.9% of all employees, compared with 2.2% nationally.
  • 16,400 employees working accommodation and food, accounting for 9.2% of all employees, compared with 7.2% nationally.


Variations of representation at district and borough level:

  • Accommodation and food largest in Rother (12.6%) and smallest in Lewes (7.4%).
  • Arts, entertainment and recreation largest in Wealden (3.7%) and Lewes (3.4%) smallest in Rother (2.1%).

Figures and sectors will have the potential impacts of:

  • Brexit – Shrinkage of labour pool, possible staff shortages?
  • Covid pandemic – has activity reached pre-Covid levels now lockdowns over?
  • Net Zero and Digital/Automation – any impacts here?


The research will explore and ask about the skills and training impact on East Sussex businesses and the skills and training needs for the future.


There was some discussion about definitions and the cross-over with culture.

Sector Definitions given as follows:

  • Arts, Entertainment and recreation:
  • Creative arts and entertainment activities – performing arts, artistic creation, operation of arts facilities
  • Libraries, archives, museums and other cultural activities – library and archive activities, museum activities, operation of historic sites and buildings, botanical/zoological gardens and nature reserves.
  • Gambling and betting activities.
  • Sports activities – operation of sports facilities, activities of sports clubs, fitness facilities.
  • Amusement and recreation activities – amusement parks and theme parks and other amusement/recreation activities.
  • Accommodation and food:
  • Hotels, holiday accommodation, camping grounds and so on.
  • Restaurants, cafes, takeaways, event catering, clubs, pubs and bars.


HM raised the current difficulties in the UK travel industry and the impact on visitors – local and overseas. There is reduced ‘trickle down’ to local tourism.  Also, that given air fares are so low now, it is cheaper to go abroad than visit parts of the UK. SS advised that Visit Britain projections for incoming overseas visitors are 30% below 2019 for the next three to five years.


SBe advised that the sector has second highest number of vacancies, he thought there is an issue around perception of the industry. MP said it would be useful to know how skills gaps compared to wages.  IW agreed there are large numbers of vacancies in hospitality and care and that hospitality wages may be slightly higher. There is a lot more flexibility happening to encourage recruitment.  SBu stated that salaries are still the core driver in recruitment.  KBo felt it is not particularly wages but the unsociable hours that are affecting recruitment. People who have worked in the sector for years ‘regained’ weekends and evenings during the pandemic and did not wish this to change. Those who do not need a full-time wage prefer to reduce their hours.


MW commented that the present cost of fuel was making it difficult for people to travel to work and could be a deciding factor on where they work.  HM advised that training is more restricted with many businesses now, and digital instead of hands-on with a team is not what is wanted or needed.


MW confirmed that the survey is planned to run until late July. It will be circulated to the Task Groups and distribution to networks for completion is appreciated.


Beacon Community Asset opportunity to promote the Visitor Economy

HM advised that in her role as first Community Manager for The Beacon  she looks after the community space previously known as The Hut within the shopping centre.  It is now known as Gather. This flexible ground floor space is around 322 sq ft with furniture that can be moved. It is situated in a high traffic area near the supermarket and a fast food retailer. It has been used for workshops, drop-ins, awareness raising and is free for community groups, creatives and small business use.


SBu confirmed this is a very good opportunity, the resource could be used as a ‘pop-up’ about retail and hospitality jobs.  SBe suggested it might be better to offer online video recordings of things like cocktail making, barista activities rather than the usual jobs faire.  PS advised that in two weeks’ time year 11 and year 13 learners will be finishing so any time soon would be good for promoting vacancies as they head to shopping centres. These could be summer jobs or permanent. JS confirmed there is good footfall.


SS raised the difficulties that employers are having in getting baristas and wondered whether this training could be provided.  SBu asked for ideas on how any event could be set up and promoted, such as a coffee making exhibition and maybe provide free coffee.  HM clarified the location has limitations (no taps, but electrical points) at the moment but as its use increases it will develop.


ACTION 1 – Send ideas for an exhibition theme for The Beacon to the  email

Careers Hub Update

JS provided an update. He advised staffing changes including KB’s progression, Henry Clayson moving from apprentice to Project Assistant and recruitment of a new apprentice. On site work experience for schools is happening. Enterprise Advisers are wanted – particularly Crowborough and county borders. More Industry Champions always welcome. The Careers East Sussex website is undergoing an update to be more user friendly. Five Keystone Employer videos have been developed as schools resources to explain fields of work to young people – employers include the NHS, GM Monk, Let’s Do Business, Metal Tech and East Sussex College Group.

The Apprenticeships Roadshows are coming up:

  • Hastings, White Rock Theatre on 20th June 2022
  • Eastbourne, Devonshire Park Quarter on 6th July 2022

The ICan event is at the Towner Gallery on 30th June 2022 for young people with SEN (Special Educational Needs).  SBu asked whether the ICan event will be filmed. JS confirmed there will be filming and there is footage of a previous event online. SBu encouraged people to watch the footage as the demand and capacity for young people with SEN to fill vacancies can be underestimated. 

ACTION 2 – Anyone interested in Careers Hub opportunities to contact

Hotel of Excellence Update

ST provided an overview and update on the project. Various partners (including ESCC, East Sussex College Group[ES, Eastbourne Chamber) had the idea to provide a hospitality training school linked to an existing operational hotel in Eastbourne covering the full range of duties from booking and front of house to marketing and making beds.   


In 2017 Eastbourne Borough Council commissioned a feasibility study to assess the plan’s viability. The recommendation was to not build a new hotel but to explore opportunities aligning a training school with an existing full-service hotel. In 2018, following market consultation, the Hotel of Excellence Board selected the View Hotel.  In 2019 the University of Brighton and the View Hotel ran the first pop up training opportunity for 30 students to learn about career opportunities in the hotel industry with 11 hospitality undergraduates providing hands-on training.  Progress was good and key performance indicators (KPIs) being agreed when the pandemic led to the hotel’s closure, it was unable to accommodate students with social distancing in place.


Since restriction relaxation, it has been decided to start small. Work is underway with ESCG, barista training is currently running for example. Pre-employment work is being done with Reed Restart on ‘soft skills’. Hospitality Rocks is offered as well. Work placements to support T levels is there to support recruitment, too. Other courses, such as ICT are being linked to hospitality, a recent one involved a View Hotel visit.


SBu asked whether the Hotel of Excellence would be doing anything to help with retention.  ST advised short, pre-employment courses let potential employees know what to expect. IW thanked ST for the update and advised that involvement had been a very positive experience.  SBu asked for regular updates, perhaps every second meeting.

Multiply Funding Opportunities

SBu gave a presentation on Multiply Funding. This Shared Prosperity Fund money is being distributed via the Department for Education (Dfe). Up to £559million will be available to local authorities. East Sussex’ allocation is up to £2,523,442 over three years:

  • £740,000 year one
  • £880,000 year two
  • £880,000 year three


It is not to replace or duplicate existing maths offers including GCSEs or standalone functional skills. The DfE will launch a national digital numeracy platform to sit alongside, and it will offer workforce skills to both unemployed and employed who do not hold level 2 maths.


The delivery model should be based around a range of new and different approaches to delivering level 2 numeracy skills.  We are looking for innovation and recognising and overcoming barriers to adult learning.  The offer should also be flexible and accessible with out of hours access, face to face and online opportunities. The focus needs to be on improving contextual numeracy rather than academic maths.


Case studies for grant bids need to be submitted by 30th June.  Grant notifications will be in September and contracts will be issued following due diligence as soon as possible before. This is an opportunity to consider what and how it is delivered.


IW agreed that the timelines are very tight. Discussions as to the best way to implement any plan have started and he thought that ESCC were way ahead other councils with their planning and congratulated them on a very positive start.  ER advised that there was a meeting booked to discuss the college’s position regarding this funding.

Any Other Business and Date of Next Meeting

Congratulations noted for Jill Whittaker from HIT (Hospitality Industry) Training, based in West Sussex. She was given an OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list for work on apprenticeships and training.


Meeting ended.

Date of next meeting – Rescheduled from Thursday 8th September to Thursday 22nd September at 10:00-11:30.