British seaside tourism 'growing'

Donkeys on Blackpool Beach
Image caption The Blackpool area has the highest concentration of seaside jobs

Britain's seaside tourism industry has survived and is growing, with its jobs contributing £3.6bn to the economy, a report from academics suggests.

The industry in England and Wales employs as many people as the whole of the telecommunications sector.

It directly supports 210,000 jobs plus large numbers indirectly through the supply chain.

The report, which was produced by Sheffield Hallam University, looked at 121 coastal resorts.

The report, from the university's centre for regional economic and social research, said the industry employed more people than those working in the motor industry, the aerospace industry, pharmaceuticals or steel.

'Survived and adapted'

The Blackpool area had the largest single concentration of seaside tourist jobs at more than 19,000, the report found.

It said as many as 58 individual towns each had at least 1,000 jobs in the industry, while overall employment had increased by about 1% a year since the late 1990s - an overall growth of 20,000 jobs.

Professor Steve Fothergill, who led the team that produced the report, said the fact the industry had survived and adapted was good news for the British economy as a whole.

"Leisure and tourism is a growing market. What our figures show is that, even in the face of stiff competition from holidays abroad, Britain's seaside towns have been able to retain and even expand much of their core business," he said.

"The British seaside tourist industry remains a major employer. The new government should make every effort to ensure that the industry delivers its full potential in the coming years."

Peter Hampson, director of the British Resorts and Destinations Association, said: "People who follow the fortunes of the British seaside tourist industry have always known it is a myth that the industry is in terminal decline, but we have not had the comprehensive and convincing evidence to prove otherwise until now.

"Britain's seaside resorts face challenges in responding to changing economic circumstances and consumer tastes, but what [this] report tells us is that, in many places around the coast, the seaside tourist industry is still alive and well - and growing.

"The seaside tourist industry has been written off too often. This report highlights its resilience."

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