New report calls for '˜seaside tsar'
Calls have been made for a '˜seaside tsar' to be appointed to fight the corner for coastal resorts.
The British Hospitality Association made the demand after commissioning a report which claims 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.
The report, Creating Coastal Powerhouses, says businesses in seaside towns are more likely to fail, especially if they provide accommodation, and sets out a seven point action plan including the appointment of a seaside tsar to co-ordinate funding and government support.
Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the BHA, said: “Our members, who invest in and operate hospitality and tourism businesses recognise 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.
“Two hundred and fifty million visits are already made to the UK’s coast each year, generating £17bn 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.”
But Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden branded calls for a seaside tsar as “muddying the waters”.
He said: “The recommendations, particularly about a seaside tsar, will be a piece of flim flam irrelevant unless the industry focuses on two important issues.
“England has to have its own distinctive marketing focus and the Coastal Communities Fund should be strengthened and expanded.
“We have significant opportunities due to the uncertainty of Brexit for people holidaying at home.”
Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard said: “Towns like Blackpool have made their reputation on offering an uncomplicated and enjoyable holiday enjoyed by families and groups alike.”
Other recommendations in the BHA report includes calls for a reduction in VAT for the tourism industry, establishing coastal action groups and improving training.