'Sea Changes' suggests that, despite the decline in popularity of traditional seaside holidays, English resorts still have a future as places to visit, if each can establish its own distinctive brand in the minds of visitors and deliver a quality product that meets their expectations. The report sets out an action plan and recommendations for both resorts and a range of key organisations that need to work in partnership to make this vision a reality.
Drawing lessons from home and abroad, the report identifies a set of principles for successful resort regeneration. These principles cover three areas:
Creating a vision
Resorts need to recognise the need for change and secure the necessary leadership, unity and vision to produce a masterplan for action.
Taking a holistic approach
The masterplan should identify the features that will act as the major draw for the resort and set out a total quality approach, for example, to the management of the resort's accommodation, beach, sea front and town centre.
Securing the tools to do the job
Resorts need external advice and experience, as well as significant public and private investment. They also need a detailed understanding of their potential visitors and how to market themselves to attract them.
The ETC report recognises that resorts cannot achieve long term success on their own and makes 20 recommendations for key local, regional and national partners.
'Sea Changes ' suggests that resorts would benefit significantly from achieving the same profile that inner cities and rural areas have gained in recent years and recommends that the potential for resorts is maximised in the implementation of the recently published Urban and Rural White Papers. It identifies the need for resorts to have better access to existing regeneration funds and proposes that lottery distributors should assess the levels of take up of lottery grants in resorts, promote the availability of grants to them and offer appropriate advice on applications.
Other recommendations include better transport links to resorts, support for small tourism businesses at the seaside and other research by the ETC into the potential markets for resorts.
Welcoming the report, ETC's chairman Alan Britten said: 'Resorts are still a very significant factor in English tourism and some have made enormous strides in redefining themselves. Those who are willing to think afresh about what they offer and what today's tourist is looking for can compete with the best in the world. We hope that this report will be a step towards making that vision come true'.
'Sea Changes' has been produced by the ETC with the assistance of its resort regeneration task force - a group of industry experts who met to take forward a key action point of the department for culture, media and sport's strategy 'Tomorrow's Tourism'.
An executive summary of the 'Sea Changes' report can be downloaded in PDf here