BHA calls for 'Seaside Tsar' to save 'forgotten' coastal towns

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

BHA calls for 'Seaside Tsar' to save 'forgotten' coastal towns

Related tags: Seaside resort

The British Hospitality Association (BHA) is calling on the Government to appoint a ‘Seaside Tsar’ to help ‘forgotten’ coastal communities fight back from decades of decay.

Businesses in seaside towns are more likely to fail, especially if they provide accommodation, according to a new report commissioned by the BHA.

A separate survey conducted by Butlin’s found that over half of the British public have not visited the British seaside in the last three years, with 65 per cent citing the coast as ‘run down’ and in need of investment.

The Government is investing £700,000 to restores local seaside landmarks​ in locations including the Isle of Wight, Devon and Cumbria, but the BHA believes more needs to be done.

It cited the successful regeneration of Folkestone in Kent and along the Jurassic Coast in Dorset and east Devon as examples of how the British seaside can recover.

Ufi Ibrahim, CEO of the BHA, said: “250m 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. Together we can turn the tide and bring a smile back to the seaside.”

The BHA's seven-point plan for the Government to save coastal communities:

1.    Appoint a Seaside Tsar to coordinate a coherent response across all departments and spending

2.    Establish Coastal Action Groups, to develop a co-ordinated response and investment strategy to target the specific social and economic challenges that seaside towns face.

3.    Create a progressive tax environment, including a reduction in Tourism VAT, to encourage coastal businesses to invest in themselves.

4.    Create Coastal Enterprise Zones to incentivise investment and encourage businesses to move to the coast and create jobs.

5.    Invest in critical infrastructure and improve broadband, rail and road connections, and protect against the threat of rising sea levels.

6.    Improve education and training provision for young people and adults to ensure that they have the skills for a variety of sectors.

7.    Support Local Authorities to tackle social issues and housing problems which reduce their attraction as visitor destination

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