Seaside towns in the age of austerity: recent trends in employment in seaside tourism in England and Wales

BEATTY, Christina, FOTHERGILL, Stephen and GORE, Tony (2014). Seaside towns in the age of austerity: recent trends in employment in seaside tourism in England and Wales. Project Report. Sheffield, Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, Sheffield Hallam University.

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The impact of economic austerity on Britain’s seaside tourist industry has so far been very unclear. This report updates previous estimates of the employment supported by seaside tourism to cover the years since 2008. The report provides figures for 121 individual resorts around the coast of England and Wales. The job figures are all rooted in official published statistics. At the core of the estimates, employment levels in key sectors, such as shops, hotels and restaurants, in seaside towns are compared with employment levels in other towns where there is little significant tourism. This is a proven method that generates plausible results. The new estimate is that in the places and sectors covered by the report, 212,000 jobs were directly supported by seaside tourism in 2010-12. This is an ‘average year-round’ figure and represents an increase of 5,000 on the figure for 2006-08. The seaside tourist industry has, it seems, weathered the post-2008 economic downturn relatively well and even sustained the modest growth that was evident before the recession. But locational shifts have also been underway. Brighton’s tourist economy appears to be going from strength to strength but Blackpool, in contrast, appears to have lost significant numbers of tourist-related jobs. The figures suggest there is growth in several South Coast resorts and in many smaller resorts in the South West. These trends are unlikely to be explained by austerity alone. The seaside tourist industry remains a large employer – bigger than the motor industry, aerospace or pharmaceuticals for example, and comparable to telecommunications. Adding in all the jobs indirectly supported by the industry, through the supply chain and multiplier effects, could push the figure as high as 600,000. The report concludes that the survival of a large seaside tourist industry should be good news, not just for most seaside towns but also for UK plc. The challenge now is to ensure that the industry delivers its full potential in the coming years.

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research
Departments - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities > Department of Natural and Build Environment
Depositing User: Tony Gore
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2018 10:00
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2021 11:30

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