​Young People Are Missing out on the English Coast!

New research from the National Coastal Tourism Academy (NCTA) reveals that young people are missing out on the huge opportunities of holidaying on the English coastline because of lack of awareness, but they don’t dismiss a coastal break out of hand.

The NCTA’s report Coastal England: Are young people a ‘lost generation’? is founded on independent research involving twelve in-depth interviews and a survey of 1,500 young people aged between 18 and 35.

Gaps in understanding have led to a lack of knowledge of what there is to see and do on the English coast, with respondents unsure of types of destinations or what they could do when they got there. However, and importantly for the future of coastal tourism, while there is a need to raise awareness, the majority of this age group do not reject a visit to the seaside outright, with 79 per cent describing the coast as ‘fun’ and only nine per cent dismissing the coast altogether.

“This new research could help transform the way in which coastal destinations view and communicate with this age group and highlights significant opportunities for growth that appeals to this market,” said Samantha Richardson, NCTA director.

“The results demonstrate that under 35s need access to the right information on what there is to do, the wide range of accommodation on offer, the interesting food, cultural activities, itineraries and events tailored to this age group.

“What has also emerged is the need to target specific sectors for 18 to 35s, treating those with and without children differently. If businesses and destinations want quick wins – beach holidays, romantic breaks, family trips and ultra-short breaks of one night - they need to match the needs of this market with the product readily available on England’s coast. When making decisions, the world is their oyster so they need to be inspired by the English coast’s offer.

“Longer-term there are real opportunities focused on active and wellness holidays. This cohort is seeking adventure, to explore and have better quality experiences. With the right product development and a drive on awareness, coastal destinations could see significant growth in these markets.”

Overall, the majority of this age group hold very positive perceptions of the coast, with 67 per cent of day trippers and 59 per cent of those who took short breaks considering it very good or excellent. Seventy-eight per cent believe the coast line is charming and 77 per cent value its natural beauty and unspoilt beaches.

Nearly three-quarters regard it with a sense of nostalgia, 72 per cent say it was full of childhood memories, but for those who’ve never been there’s little connection with one third of respondents saying they couldn’t think of anywhere appealing. Generally they would prefer to go abroad.

The results demonstrate there is much work to be done to raise awareness. Lack of understanding of what is available and limited experiences contribute to a passive audience waiting to be inspired. There is real potential for the English coast to create new product, to offer tools to enable quick decisions and to develop bespoke social media activity for each part of the decision-making process.


Notes to editors: For more information on the Under 35s, and to read the report Coastal England: Are Young People a ‘lost generation’? visit http://www.coastaltourismacademy.co.uk/under35s

The NCTA commissioned independent research from Olive Insight to conduct quantitative and qualitative analysis of English coastal visits from the 18 to 34 age group. 1,500 people were surveyed from across England. Twelve in-depth interviews were conducted in North London, Leicester and Leeds. The respondents represented a cross-section of ages, gender, origin, socio-economic group and family status.

The National Coastal Tourism Academy (NCTA) is a Coastal Communities Fund project that analyses the nature of coastal tourism to help boost jobs and the coastal tourism economy. It works with academia and the tourism industry to bridge gaps in research, visitor experience, training and skills. Having worked initially in Bournemouth with the local tourism industry and Bournemouth University, the NCTA is now working with coastal resorts nationally.

For further media information, please contact Sheron Crossman, Marketing and Communications Manager, Sheron.crossman@coastaltourismacademy.co.uk or tel: 01202 962565.