The British Seaside remains an important destination for tourists and a key economic driver for coastal communities. The hospitality industry employs more than 10% of people in coastal towns and contributes £17bn to the economy. But as we saw in previous decades cheap foreign travel saw some seaside towns decline. Regeneration can be difficult and takes time but it’s worth it. As well as boosting the economy it boosts the spirits of those who live here and those who visit.
BACTA, the trade association representing the amusement arcades industry or Family Entertainment Centres as they are known, have launched a new campaign called Siding With the Seaside. It calls on the Government to prioritise the regeneration of seaside towns and invest in our coastal communities. This is important because the work we started in Government has gone out of focus in recent years. This Government to be fair replaced Sea Change funding with the Coastal Communities Fund but placing seaside towns at the heart of cross Government thinking has drifted.
This campaign includes implementing the Tourism Sector Deal and moving to local development programmes; some of the calls for tax changes given the growth of tourism in recent years are worth considering. Our own local seaside regeneration has won well deserved plaudits but the jobs not yet complete and we need to stay focussed on coastal and riverside communities. That makes Siding with the Seaside a welcome and timely campaign.