Call For Chancellor To Reverse Slump In Seaside Towns

Cross-party MPs, coastal destinations and the National Coastal Tourism Academy have called for the Chancellor to provide much-needed funding for a four-year recovery programme to restore the economies in seaside towns to pre-Covid-19 levels.

Led by Tobias Ellwood, MP for Bournemouth East, the attached letter was sent to Chancellor Rishi Sunak today backed by MPs from around the coast proposing a national programme of business support for small and micro businesses.

“Coastal towns such as Bournemouth, with economies which are reliant on tourism, are being devastatingly impacted by Covid-19,” said Mr Ellwood.

“Whilst I am grateful for the financial support packages for businesses already put in place by the Chancellor, the tourism sector will need further support to ensure businesses can survive through this period and to minimise as many job cuts as possible.

“I am very pleased to support the National Coastal Tourism Academy in writing to the Chancellor, along with my colleagues from other coastal constituencies, to request funding for a proposed four-year recovery programme for businesses in seaside towns. I believe this programme would be a vital step in boosting tourism and getting coastal businesses back on track.”

The new initiative devised by the National Coastal Tourism Academy would provide product development, training and a major marketing campaign to boost tourism and address the long-standing challenge of seasonality in coastal towns.The framework would see all major coastal groups – businesses, councils and coastal organisations – working collaboratively for the first time on this scale.

“Whilst we welcome the opening up of most hospitality businesses and attractions on 4 July, coastal towns have been particularly under threat from Covid-19. To date, seven per cent of coastal businesses have already permanently closed and a further 25 per cent of accommodation is forecast to shut.” said Samantha Richardson, Academy Director of the NCTA.

“Before the current pandemic, coastal tourism in England was valued at £13.7bn. With businesses permitted to open in July, under current Government guidance, the economic loss will be £7.96bn in England, meaning a cut of more than 100 thousand jobs in England alone.

“To address this, we have set out a four-year national strategy providing support for businesses and coastal destinations underpinned by a major marketing campaign which we are asking the Chancellor to support. We want to share examples of best practice and lessons learnt during this pandemic to drive economic recovery and build long-term resilience for coastal towns.”

In its plan, the immediate activity will help visitor-facing businesses to boost the off-peak period and survive the winter, next year focuses on recovery and sustainability, escalating to a landmark year for 2023 – a celebratory Year of the Coast.

The Recovery Programme builds on the oral evidence submitted last month [May] by the National Coastal Tourism Academy to the Government’s DCMS Select Committee Inquiry examining the impact of Covid-19 on the tourism sector.