12 Aug Have we fallen out of love with the seaside?
Oh I do like to be beside the seaside” may have been a popular saying of the 1950s and 60s.
But according to a survey released today by the National Trust, Britons in 2015 may have fallen somewhat out of love with the idea of a day trip to the coast.
According to the report, which questioned approximately 9,000 people, visits to the seaside have declined by 20pc in a decade, with 58pc of adults in England, Wales and Northern Ireland not taking a day trip to the coast in the past 12 months.
Whereas many older people have fond memories of the coast when they were younger, today only 14pc of 18 to 24-year-olds say their happiest childhood memory is by the sea.
But East of England tourism leaders have hit back at the report, saying visitors numbers to the Norfolk and Suffolk coast are rising, not falling.
Pete Waters, executive director for Visit East Anglia, said: “Day trip numbers in Norfolk and Suffolk are actually growing, so it’s obvious that our unique coastline is still a major pull for visitors.”
However he admitted: “There is a lot of competition for people’s leisure time nowadays. It’s good that there’s still pride and affection for the coast, but we’ve got to convince people, particularly the younger generation, that a seaside day out is one of the great pleasures of life.”
Tim Rowan-Robinson, chairman of the Suffolk Coast Destination Management Organisation (DMO) – set up to promote the coast – said that the fact entertainment is available on people’s tablets and smartphones without them having to leave home means “we probably have to work much harder to make it more interesting”. In particular he said coastal resorts needed to make sure there are plenty of facilities and things for people to do – and said that places such as Southwold and Aldeburgh have these with their festivals and high-quality places to eat and drink.
Alex Hunt, audience researcher for nature and outdoors at the National Trust, said that while so-called “staycations” increased during the recession, they now appear to have gone back to pre-2008 levels.
He said many visitors to the coast talked about the benefits of fresh air, adding that the seaside “can address the modern dilemmas of how well we are and how stressed we are”.
this news story was provided by great yarmouth mercury