National Coastal Tourism Academy is announced

Europe’s First National Coastal Tourism Academy to be launched in Bournemouth

Bournemouth is to host Europe’s first National Coastal Tourism Academy, a ground-breaking new knowledge transfer institution which will set a gold standard in customer care for the tourism and hospitality industry.

The Academy will give coastal tourism businesses access to educational and professional training in order to help boost their growth, create jobs and help develop the wider tourism industry.

It is a joint collaboration between Bournemouth Borough Council and Bournemouth University, spearheaded by the local tourist industry.

The new venture is designed to kick-start economies in coastal resorts through the creation of jobs and the programme will be rolled out nationally and offered to other coastal tourism resorts within two years.

Samantha Richardson has been appointed director of the Academy. A high-flyer, Samanatha has a wealth of experience in the tourism industry, most recently as Business Development Manager for Shore Operations at Carnival UK, the world’s largest cruise line operator. She has also worked for Salisbury Cathedral, Thomas Cook and in the marketing department at Visit Britain’s Chicago office.

“It’s very rare to be able to be part of a start-up that has the potential to create a step-change in the future of coastal tourism,” says Samantha.

“Uniquely, the NCTA is a partnership between the three major tourism players in the town – Bournemouth Council, Bournemouth University and the local tourism industry, working together will be key to delivering our objectives.

“Our remit is ambitious, but with robust research from the University working in partnership with the different tourism sectors, we’ll hit the ground running. I’m passionate about tourism, it’s the very life-blood of the local economy, so I’m enormously excited about this new challenge.”

Key to the Academy’s success will be its delivery, through a new public-private sector partnership with a combination of virtual training alongside face-to-face interaction. Participants will be able to work flexibly without disruption to their businesses.

The new venture comprises four elements – the new Academy based at Bournemouth University, a Coastal Activity Park to be based on the seafront at Boscombe, Bournemouth, a resort-wide world class visitor experience initiative and a research and development programme.

Dr Keith Wilkes, Dean of the School of Tourism at Bournemouth University, said: “Not only is this initiative likely to be of considerable benefit to local and national coastal destinations, but with its commitment to high quality training and personal development, alongside platforms of research that are at present woefully inadequate for the needs of coastal tourism, it is eventually also likely to be of considerable appeal to international destinations.”

The Academy has a small team based at Bournemouth University and Bournemouth Council’s offices.

“We’re absolutely delighted that Bournemouth is to host the new National Coastal Academy. This is a wonderful opportunity to accelerate the growth of tourism by sharing best practice in a more structured way,” commented Mark Smith, Bournemouth’s Director of Tourism.

“This new initiative will introduce a new level of customer care that will not only benefit visitors and residents of the town, but will boost the balance sheets of local businesses.

“Tourism is the backbone of Bournemouth’s economy. And we know that with increased visitor satisfaction and enjoyment, comes an increased visitor spend, length of stay and likelihood of a repeat visit. So this is of significant economic benefit to every strand of the tourism sector.”