International
Samantha Richardson, director of the National Coastal Tourism Academy

United Kingdom: Millennials could hold key to future of seaside resorts

The future of Britain’s seaside resorts could depend on attracting millennials to the coast, research suggests.

The Bournemouth-based National Coastal Tourism Academy found the millennial generation – aged 22 to 37 – was the age group least likely to visit the coast, seeing it as “old-fashioned”.

But the same age group was the most likely to holiday in the UK.

The academy says the findings suggest an urgent need for resorts to target the age group and change its perceptions.

It worked with the market research agency BVA BDRC to identify the attitudes of British holidaymakers to the coast. The findings have been published in a report, Holiday Trends 2019.

Academy director Samantha Richardson said: “This latest report backs up last year’s research which shows young people are missing out on huge opportunities to holiday on the coast because of lack of awareness, but they don’t dismiss a break to the seaside out of hand.

“It’s crucial that coastal resorts attract this age group if they are to thrive as successful tourist destinations long-term. They have grown up with low-cost airfares and budget accommodation plus a strong desire to travel globally without knowing what is right on their doorstep.

“Unless they discover the English coast’s beauty, the rugged cliff-tops and castles of Northumberland and Yorkshire, seal-spotting and nature on the east coast to the water sports and cultural towns in the south and south west, this will be a lost generation.”

The report offered hope for one of the biggest challenges facing resorts – attracting visitors outside the peak tourist season.

Of the 1,000 people polled, 28 per cent thought some activities were best in winter, while 51 per cent said the coast offered activities all year round.

Breaks most likely to provide winter appeal included learning a new skill, volunteering, food and drink and history and culture. These were followed by an interest in wellness, nature and wildlife escapes.

Millennials showed a particular interest in these activities.

The report says all types of domestic breaks have increased in popularity since 2017 but seaside breaks saw the biggest jump.

Jon Young, research director at BVA BDRC said: “The millennial age cohort tends to be open to new ideas, and so negative perceptions of the coast can be easily turned around.

“This age group tends to be drawn to unique, immersive, shared and transformational experiences, with Instagrammable opportunities a must. The English coast can provide these experiences in spades (although the bucket may be a bit too old-fashioned these days).”

The full report can be downloaded at hoidaytrends2019.com

See Bournemouth Echo article . . . .