Salisbury to get £500,000 rebrand as tourism plummets after poisonings

Salisbury is to get £500,000 rebrand after number of tourists visiting city nosedives following novichok nerve agent attack on Skripals

  • The high-profile poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal saw tourism drop by 12%
  • Officials have set aside £500,000 for a national and online advertising campaign
  • That’s part of a £3.7 million pot given to the city by the government  

The city of Salisbury is set to get a major re-brand in the wake of the nerve agent attacks that took place there in March. 

The high-profile poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, and the subsequent poisonings of Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley saw the city’s tourist plummet by 12% for this time of year.

Officials are now making a concerted effort to improve the cathedral city’s reputation as part of a £3.7 million overhaul, with £500,000 set aside for national and online advertising campaigns.

The high-profile poisoning of Yulia (left) and Sergei Skripal (right), affected Salisbury’s tourism


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Around 1000 of the city’s residents were vetted on how they think progress could be made in Salisbury, with many feeling the strain of lower tourism numbers. 

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. I had sleepless nights.’  


The Alexander Petrov (left) and Ruslan Boshirov (right) saga kept Salisbury in the headlines

Salisbury hit the headlines in early March when Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military officer and double agent for the UK’s intelligence services, and his daughter Yulia Skripal were poisoned in a Zizzi restaurant. 

The city remained in the headlines as a policeman who found the Skripals slumped on a bench also became ill. 

Although seven miles away, Amesbury in Wiltshire plunged Salisbury into the spotlight once more when it was the host of another poisoning, claiming the life of  44-year-old Dawn Sturgess. 

The art piece ‘The Light’, a 4-metre illuminated globe, hangs in the spire crossing, at the launch of Salisbury Cathedral’s illuminated Advent art installations

Councillor Pauline Church, who works on the South Wiltshire Recovery Team which was set up after the poisoning, said it has ‘been a tough year since March’ for Salisbury and Amesbury, but it’s now 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,’ she told Sky.  

Salisbury Cathedral, the image of the city, became linked to the poisoning case when the two men deemed responsible for the poisonings of the Skripals said they were only in the city to see the famous landmark. 

An illuminated artwork is seen at Salisbury Cathedral as it celebrates the beginning of Advent

‘Our friends had been suggesting for a long time that we visit this wonderful town,’ said a man who identified himself on news channel RT, as Alexander Petrov. 

A ‘symbol of hope’ in the shape of a four-metre wide illuminated globe has now been suspended in the cathedral. 

The lead artist behind the globe – called ‘The Light’ –  Richard McLester, told Sky: ‘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.’ 

Salisbury Cathedral. Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov said they were visiting landmark 

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