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Research shows British seaside resort is here to "Staycation"

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Issued:18/07/14

As the summer school-holidays start, a new report shows that the British seaside tourist industry remains in remarkably good health despite fears that the recession and subsequent squeeze on household incomes would lead to a big fall in spending on leisure and tourism.

The new report, by a research team at Sheffield Hallam University, shows that the number of jobs supported by seaside tourism has continued to grow despite the so-called 'age of austerity'.

The report estimates that, averaged across the year as a whole, more than 200,000 jobs in England and Wales are directly supported by seaside tourism.

The new figures show that seaside tourism employs more people than the motor industry for example, or than aerospace, pharmaceuticals or steel.

Blackpool retains the biggest single concentration of seaside tourism jobs – nearly 16,000 – closely followed by Brighton and Bournemouth. In all, 63 resorts around the coast of England and Wales each have at least 1,000 jobs directly supported by tourism.

But the report also shows that some places are faring better than others. Many resorts along the South Coast and in South West England show solid growth in tourism employment. In a number of other places however, including in Blackpool, the pressure on visitors’ incomes and spending appears to have choked growth.

 Professor Steve Fothergill, who co-authored the report with colleagues Tina Beatty and Tony Gore, said:  “Over the last few years there has been plenty of media discussion about the rise of ‘staycations’ – holidays in Britain rather than abroad – but so far little hard evidence. Our figures show that so far the British seaside tourist industry has weathered the age of austerity very well indeed.

“The survival of a large seaside tourist industry should be good news, not just for most seaside towns but also for UK plc.”

Peter Hampson, Chief Executive of British Destinations, which represents local authorities and tourist bodies, said: “The British seaside tourist industry has too often been written off as a relic of the past, and assumed to be on the same downward trajectory as so many other famous British industries.

Employment directly supported by seaside tourism

Click to view the image

"Anyone familiar with the resorts themselves knows this was always a myth, and I’m delighted that the new figures from Sheffield Hallam expose the truth. 

“Our seaside resorts still face challenges in adapting to changing tastes and travel patterns, but with the right support from government this is an industry  that should have a bright future as well as an illustrious past.”

 

Notes for editors:

  1. The new report, Seaside Towns in the Age of Austerity: recent trends in employment in seaside tourism in England and Wales, by Christina Beatty, Steve Fothergill and Tony Gore, can be downloaded at http://www.shu.ac.uk/research/cresr/sites/shu.ac.uk/files/seaside-towns-age-austerity.pdf
  2. The report was commissioned by British Destinations with financial support from Visit Wales and the British Amusement Catering Trade Association
  3. The new estimates of seaside tourism employment, by resort, are shown in the attached map
  4. Photo of Brighton Pier by Beverley Goodwin

For press information: contact Laurie Harvey in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 2621 or email pressoffice@shu.ac.uk