THE British Hospitality Association (BHA) says a Seaside Czar should be appointed ‘to help Britain’s forgotten seaside towns fight back from decades of decay’.
Called Creating Coastal Powerhouses, the report says businesses in seaside towns are more likely to fail – especially if they provide accommodation – and urges the government to create Coastal Enterprise Zones to encourage investment.
The report says people living in seaside towns are more likely to be poorly educated, unemployed, unemployable, lacking in ambition, claiming benefits, and living in multiple occupation housing.
A separate survey, conducted by Bourne Leisure, found that more than half of the British public have not visited the British seaside in the past three years, and 65% believe that the British seaside is run down and in need of investment.
Nine out of the 10 most deprived neighbourhoods in the UK are seaside communities, according to the Department for Communities and Local Government 2015 Index of Multiple Deprivation.
The report highlights several reasons for the decline, including the collapse of shipbuilding and fishing, the demise of the traditional annual holiday by the seaside, growing drug use, and cutbacks in budgets affecting maintenance of public places, street cleaning, and tourism promotion.
The BHA cites the successful regeneration of Folkestone in Kent and the Jurassic Coast in Dorset and East Devon as examples of how the British seaside can recover.
Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the BHA, said: ‘Our members recognize the problems facing many coastal communities, but we also know there are fantastic opportunities to boost these places and help revive the Great British Seaside holiday.
‘250 million visits are already made to the UK’s coast each year, generating £17 billion to the economy. But we know there is a lot more to do – and that can only happen with a concerted effort by a committed government and the private sector. Together we can turn the tide and bring a smile back to the seaside.
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