A new gift voucher scheme offering a range of experiences, places to stay and activities to do in Eastbourne has been launched in time for Mother’s Day.

The VisitEastbourne Gift Voucher Scheme is an online platform where organisations can reap the income benefits of selling gift vouchers directly to the public.

VisitEastbourne is working with the Eastbourne Hospitality Association and platform provider Clockwork Marketing, and is the first destination to benefit from the year-round revenue opportunity.

With the growth of the experience economy and the desire for reconnection after lockdown, the platform enables Eastbourne’s hotels, attractions, pubs, restaurants and other businesses to drive extra revenue.

Among the vouchers available on the website – www.visiteastbourne.com/giftvouchers – are hotel stays, afternoon teas, meals out and beauty treatments, as well as gifts from Eastbourne such as a wine and cheeseboard hamper.

Vouchers for activities are also available including guided tours on ebikes across the South Downs, minibus tours, a doggy afternoon tea and walking wine tasting tours across the Sussex countryside.  Prices for vouchers start at £25.

The new voucher scheme has been made possible through partnership working, utilising EHA funding from the Additional Restricted Grant, which provided local councils with grant funding to support businesses that have been severely impacted by coronavirus restrictions during the pandemic.

Eastbourne Hospitality Association Secretary Yvette Cowderoy said, “More and more people are preferring to buy vouchers as gifts rather than material goods and what better way than to show off everything that Eastbourne has to offer and support its local businesses than the destination gift voucher scheme.  There are lots of vouchers offering potential visitors a variety of options of charming and new places to stay, vibrant events and exciting things to do.

“We are immensely proud and delighted with this collaboration between ourselves at the Eastbourne Hospitality Association with VisitEastbourne and Clockwork Marketing.  The aim is to offer local businesses in Eastbourne additional opportunities to sell their experiences online, giving visitors and businesses more flexibility in when these experiences are taken with the businesses receiving the gift voucher money in advance so it is good for their cashflow too.

“The gift voucher shop is also a great way to increase the reach of vouchers that local businesses already offer.  With a ‘Buy Gift Voucher’ button on every page of VisitEastbourne, there are literally thousands of opportunities for the gift vouchers to be discovered by users planning a trip or day out.”

Eastbourne Borough Council Lead Cabinet Member for Tourism & Culture, Cllr Margaret Bannister said, “This new scheme enables us to raise the profile of Eastbourne and broaden our appeal to attract new visitors with a range of inspiring things to do in our wonderful town and the surrounding area.

“Importantly it offers a new and year-round revenue scheme with unlimited venues, unlimited voucher types and unlimited offers for visitors.  People can search by experience, venue and occasion to attract more visitors with varied interests.  This offer is a safe secure and streamlined way to sell experiences.  It really is a great way to show off all that Eastbourne has to offer for visitors and residents alike.”

Clare Bushby, Managing Director of Clockwork Marketing, said, “As we emerge from over two years of major disruption in the hospitality sector, we are delighted to help destination management organisations such as VisitEastbourne to quickly and easily expand their offering and capture the interest of more tourists.

“We are confident that the cash flow opportunity from the Gift Voucher Brilliance for DMOs will help rebuild a healthy stable tourism industry locally and nationally.”

For details of all the gift vouchers available visit www.visiteastbourne.com/giftvouchers or follow the links on the VisitEastbourne website.

Businesses can join the scheme by emailing promotions@eastbourne.gov.uk or call 01323 415556.