A report into seaside tourism has been launched by Sport, Tourism and Heritage Minister, David Evenett MP, who visited the Academy’s offices at Bournemouth University’s Executive Business Centre.
Coastal Tourism 2016 was presented to the Minister by Academy Director Samantha Richardson, who was joined by members of the NCTA Board including BU’s Professor Keith Wilkes, Dean of the Faculty of Management. Local business owners and tourism industry representatives were also invited to the meeting, including restauranteur James Fowler and Bournemouth Tourism Management Board Chair Des Simmons.
The report’s findings highlighted the importance of seaside tourism to the UK’s economy; worth more than £8billion a year, as well as the benefit of sharing advice and research across destinations, as the Government released its plans for a four-year Coastal Communities Fund, which will invest £90million to revitalise seaside areas.
Dean of the Faculty of Management at BU, Professor Keith Wilkes said: “This is a unique project that started three years ago with a joint bid to the funding body. It engages academics, undergraduates, post-graduates, and we currently have three PhD students funded by the project.
“A lot of our students have also independently become ambassadors for Bournemouth since they live here and use the facilities. We host the project on Bournemouth University’s campus, and it’s worked very well.
“The three key markets in the UK are coastal, rural and cities, and from the latest figures produced by the NCTA, coastal has gone back to top place.
He added: “Gone are the days where people went for 14 days by the seaside. Now it’s about trying to develop the short-break market either side of the peak summer months, developing products for empty-nesters for example, and upping the quality of the seaside/coastal offer.”
Sport, Tourism and Heritage Minister, David Evenett MP said: “Britain’s coastline is a beautiful and valuable asset and this report underlines the importance of seaside tourism not only to local communities but the nation’s economy as a whole.
“The Discover England Fund, on top of Government’s investment in coastal communities, will provide further opportunities for seaside towns to grow local tourism and make sure visitors from home and abroad know about the wonderful attractions on offer.”
NCTA Director Samantha Richardson said: “There’s no doubt that our coastline is much-loved and cherished by the nation and yet for many, visiting the coast isn’t a high priority - this is fundamentally because of a lack of awareness. What’s needed is stronger communication with clear messages, carefully-targeted for their audience.”
“To thrive for the next generation, each destination needs to match its product to the appropriate market, whether that be wellness breaks, shoulder season holidays or to attract a younger audience.”
The full report, Coastal Tourism 2016, produced by the NCTA, is available here: http://coastaltourismacademy.co.uk/resource-hub/resource/2016-coastal-tourism