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BHA calls for ‘seaside Tsar' to save coastal towns

11 July 2016 by
BHA calls for ‘seaside Tsar' to save coastal towns

The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has called for the Government to appoint a "seaside Tsar" to help revive the economies of struggling seaside towns.

A report commissioned by the BHA, ‘Creating Coastal Powerhouses', says people living in seaside towns are more likely to be poorly educated and unemployed. A separate survey, conducted by the owners of Butlins, found more than half of the British public have not visited the British seaside in the past three years, and 65% believe that the British seaside is run down and in need of investment.

The BHA report says businesses in seaside towns are more likely to fail, especially if they provide accommodation, but cites the successful regeneration of Bournemouth, Folkestone in Kent and the Jurassic Coast in Dorset and east Devon as prime examples of how the British seaside can be regenerated.

Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the BHA, said: "Our members, who invest in and operate hospitality and tourism businesses recognise the problems facing many coastal communities but we also know there are fantastic opportunities to boost these places and help revive the great British seaside holiday.

The BHA has produced a seven-point action plan, calling on the Government to:

•Appoint a 'seaside Tsar' to coordinate a coherent response across all departments and spending like Lord Heseltine's work in Liverpool in the 1980s
•Establish Coastal Action Groups to develop a co-ordinated response and investment strategy to target the specific social and economic challenges that seaside towns face
•Create a progressive tax environment, including a reduction in tourism VAT, to encourage coastal businesses to invest in themselves
•Create Coastal Enterprise Zones to incentivise investment and encourage businesses to move to the coast and create jobs
•Invest in critical infrastructure and improve broadband, rail and road connections, and protect against the threat of rising sea levels
•Improve education and training provision for young people and adults to ensure that they have the skills for a variety of sectors
•Support local authorities to tackle social issues and housing problems, which reduce towns' attraction as visitor destination

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