What is the future of our seaside towns?
Sidmouth seems to be doing well:
But perhaps it can still do more:
And can learn from others…
A couple of months ago, the Independent went to Scarborough:
How Scarborough is leading the fightback of the UK’s seaside holiday towns
Britain’s Victorian seaside towns have been getting a bad press after decades of trying to fight off competition from package holidays since British sunseekers first began jetting to Algarve in the 1960s.
Just last month, Lord Bassam of Brighton warned that the nation’s coastal resorts have ”for too long been neglected“ and are suffering deep rooted problems including the decline of domestic tourism, although he was confident they could once again become desirable places to visit.
But Scarborough, whose Grand Hotel was described as the ”largest and handsomest hotel in Europe“ when it opened in 1867 and whose guests once included royal princes, is already leading the fightback.
Figures from VisitEngland show that the North Yorkshire spa town and the wider borough – which includes nearby Whitby and Filey – is the most visited area outside London by British holidaymakers, with an average over 1.3 million trips a year.
But what is the secret behind Scarborough’s success and how has one of the nation’s oldest resorts stayed relevant in the twenty-first century?
”People love Scarborough so much that they’ll sometimes sit on the beach in the rain,“ says a tanned Dawn Avison, who sells deckchairs at £3 a day.
”The reason people keep returning is because of the old traditions,“ says Guy Smith, who family firm offering donkey rides has a heritage stretching back 200 years when his coal merchant ancestors first set up shop at the beach.
”When the weather’s right, there’s nothing better than coming to the seaside. You’ve got the donkey rides, the ice cream, the candyfloss. People who came here with their parents are now bringing their own children.“
”Scarborough manages to strike the perfect balance between traditional seaside charm and up-to-date attractions that appeal to people of all ages including theatre venues and award-winning restaurants,“ says Janet Deacon, Scarborough’s tourism manager.
The borough’s own figures show that 97 percent of all trips to Scarborough are made by British holidaymakers, with 39,500 overseas visits adding the remaining three percent. Together they spent more than 4 million bed nights here and support more than 18,300 jobs.
Scarborough is also benefiting from major investment including £40bn for the world’s largest wind farm out to sea at Dogger Bank, a £40m university campus and £10m already pumped into a new business park.
With a vibrant forum to post projects and ideas: