Salisbury’s £500k rebrand after nerve agent poisonings
Officials in Salisbury hope a major advertising push of the city in early 2019 will boost visitor numbers following the novichok nerve agent attack in March.
The number of tourists visiting the city is down 12% for this time of year, according to Wiltshire Council.
New online and national advertising campaigns are scheduled for next February and March and around 1,000 residents and business owners have been surveyed to get their opinions on how to revitalise the city.
Finance for the rebrand is coming out of a £3.7m pot of money from the government, with half a million pounds set aside for boosting Salisbury's profile following the poisonings of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, and the subsequent poisonings of Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley.
Councillor Pauline Church, who works on the South Wiltshire Recovery Team set up in the wake of the poisoning, said: "For Salisbury and Amesbury we've had a really tricky year since March and now it's all about looking forward.
"The brand proposition is one of those things we're doing – I think it's all about Salisbury competing with other cities, like our peers such as Winchester and Bath."
It comes as a four-metre wide illuminated globe has this week been suspended inside Salisbury Cathedral as a beacon of hope for the community.
The lead artist behind the globe, Richard McLester, said: "We're hoping that in light of the recent controversies surrounding Salisbury that it can become a symbol of hope for people, or a common symbol we can unite under."
Meanwhile, businesses in Salisbury are continuing to recover after a drop in trade, which for some nearly saw their companies collapse.
Jason Regent, who runs Regent Tailoring, told Sky News that 2018 has been challenging year.
"As events unfolded, more and more of our figures were dropping and for a small business with no one behind you it can have easily crippled us… and it has in a way crippled us because we need to have money to buy the next season," he said.
"I had sleepless nights, I felt anxious, I felt it was going to be over at one point."
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But he is positive that Salisbury is back on the up.
"I think people in Salisbury have forgotten about it already – it's the people out of Salisbury who haven't. I would say hand on heart, it is safe to come and experience some of the beautiful things here."