BHA calls on government to appoint ‘Seaside Tsar’ to regenerate coastal resorts
The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has called on the government to create a ‘Seaside Tsar’ as part of a plan to save Britain’s forgotten seaside towns. In its recent ‘Creating Coastal Powerhouses’ report, the BHA suggested a seven-point action plan which it hopes will revive the UK’s coastal tourism industry.
The report states: “Statistically, people living on the coast are more likely to be poorly educated, unemployed and living in low-quality housing than those living in similar inland communities.”
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Government figures suggest that nine out of the ten most deprived neighborhoods in England are seaside communities and according to the BHA report, reasons for this deprivation include the decline of traditional maritime industries, the rise of international tourism, rising sea levels and demographic change.
Around 8.4 million people live in coastal areas in mainland UK and of these; one in 10 is currently employed in hospitality industries according to the BHA report.
The key points of the BHA plan are:
- The Government should appoint a ‘Seaside Tsar’ to oversee the delivery of a Coastal Investment Strategy and the creation of Coastal Action Groups
- The Coastal Action Groups should respond to the social and economic challenges facing coastal communities and develop a Coastal Investment Strategy which identifies and promotes opportunities for investment
- A Progressive Tax Environment that encourages existing and new coastal enterprises to invest in their businesses
- Creation of Coastal Enterprise Zones having investment incentives for hospitality, tourism and other businesses
- Investment in critical infrastructure including improved broadband, rail and road connections, as well as protection against the threat of rising sea levels
- Improved education and training provision for young people and adults
- Support for Local Authorities to tackle social issues and housing problems
Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the BHA said: “The British public wants to enjoy the British Seaside, and those living in coastal communities want a thriving economy. 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.
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“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.”