Coastal tourism - on Parliament’s agenda

In the run up to the next general election, tourism is increasingly gaining the attention of government…

This week, I was asked to speak at the Coastal Communities Alliance reception at Westminster – representing the Visitor Economy. It was a great honour to be part of this symbolic event and talk about the NCTA’s progress, alongside other Coastal Communites Funded projects.

Thanks to the CCF, the face of coastal resorts around the coast is on the brink of major change. Significant investment is being ploughed in, through a diverse range of projects designed to rejuvenate economies, create jobs and reinvigorate communities to ensure longterm economic security.

It was particularly refreshing to hear the consolidated, cross-party approach - joined up views came across in all three of the MPs’ speeches - Brandon Lewis, Conservative for Great Yarmouth, Gordon Marsden, Labour for Blackpool South, and Chris Ruane, Welsh Labour for Vale of Clwyd. Speaking to MPs and Councillors from across the country it became increasingly clear how connected all destinations are in the challenges they all face, and that destinations are now more willing work collaboratively to identify opportunities for growth.

Tourism was also recently debated in the House of Lords; once again, key themes emerged regarding the vital role tourism plays in our economy alongside the significance of academic knowledge and the need to attract elite professionals to the industry.

But the need for support in seaside towns was also debated; it was widely agreed that tourism is a route to economic recovery and job creation, providing a professional career path that will retain young people and invigorate resorts. Click HERE to read the full debate in Hansard.

Like many in the industry, I also welcome the introduction of the newly formed Tourism Council; it’s fantastic to see that it has cross departmental representation, as well as high level support from the private sector, all focused on delivering change in the industry.

This development is a massive achievement for UK tourism. The sector is seeing year-on-year growth and for those of us employed within it, these are exciting times of change and enormous new opportunities. Let’s grab the chance to make those changes happen.

By Samantha Richardson