APPG Launches Inquiry Into UK Coasts And Waters

Following the success of its Pathways to Recovery report, The All Party Parliamentary Group for Hospitality and Tourism has today launched a new inquiry into coastal and lakeside tourism.

The ‘Coasts and Waters’ inquiry aims to take a holistic look at tourism and hospitality in the UK’s coasts and lakeside regions, bringing together a wide range of stakeholders to examine the challenges and opportunities that face businesses, workers and local communities in these areas.

The timing of this inquiry is crucial; tourism is highly seasonal, and its wider ecosystem depends on having significant numbers of people visiting. Local businesses such as pubs, restaurants, visitor attractions, shops, gardens and many others depend on domestic and inbound tourism to stay afloat. COVID-19 has badly damaged the sector this year, with a protracted recovery period a certainty. Ensuring that the right support is available to businesses in these regions is imperative to avoid localised economic downturns.

The APPG will hold two roundtable sessions with businesses in July, before opening a consultation process with relevant stakeholders. The group aims to publish its report in early September.

The Key Terms of Reference for the Inquiry are:

  • What support can be afforded to coastal and lakeside commerce and economies to optimise their capacity to drive much needed economic growth, employment and prosperity?
  • What distinct concerns to costal and lakeside businesses have from other hospitality businesses?
  • What support do local authorities require to promote and support tourism?
  • What structural issues faced by coastal communities that inhibit tourism?
  • How can demand be stimulated for coastal and lakeside tourism?
  • How can tourism to these areas be grown in a sustainable manner?
  • What are the recent trends in the number of sector businesses within these regions of the UK?
  • What conditions in the economy does this sector need for long term recovery and growth?

Commenting on the launch of the inquiry, Chair of the APPG, Steve Double MP said: ‘Following the success of our recent Pathways to Recovery report, the APPG will now launch an inquiry into the UK’s coastal and lakeside regions.

The UK’s coastline plays a vital role in the economy, history and culture of our country. Our canals and waterways have been a vital part of community life for generations, while our lakeside regions provide popular tourism hotspots, areas of natural beauty and employment for thousands of people countrywide.

As the MP for a coastal constituency, I have seen first-hand the impact that COVID-19 has had on businesses in these regions, placing them under an unprecedented strain. The unfortunate reality is that many coastal regions had already been struggling prior to the pandemic. The APPG inquiry aims to provide a holistic examination of the challenges and opportunities that face hospitality and tourism businesses in these areas, providing Government with a detailed report on how to promote and grow tourism in these areas in a sustainable way.

UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls added: “As the country begins to rebound from COVID-19, tourism and hospitality businesses across the country will have a huge role to play. Nowhere will this be more apparent than in coastal and lakeside areas, where hospitality jobs and businesses are essential to local communities. The Government has pledged a ‘levelling up’ agenda across the country and supporting these vital sectors should form an essential part of this. We are grateful to APPG members for selecting such a timely and appropriate inquiry and look forward to working with them closely.